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Title: Early Western Travels 1748-1846, Volume 28
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Early Western Travels 1748-1846, Volume 28" ***

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                         Early Western Travels


                             Volume XXVIII

                         Early Western Travels


          A Series of Annotated Reprints of some of the best
        and rarest contemporary volumes of travel, descriptive
                   of the Aborigines and Social and
                   Economic Conditions in the Middle
                    and Far West, during the Period
                     of Early American Settlement

           Edited with Notes, Introductions, Index, etc., by

                      Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D.

   Editor of "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents," "Original
       Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," "Hennepin's
                         New Discovery," etc.

                             Volume XXVIII

           Part I of Farnham's Travels in the Great Western
                Prairies, etc., May 21-October 16, 1839


                            Cleveland, Ohio

                      The Arthur H. Clark Company


                          COPYRIGHT 1906, BY

                      THE ARTHUR H. CLARK COMPANY

                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                          The Lakeside Press

                    R. R. DONNELLEY & SONS COMPANY



  PREFACE TO VOLUMES XXVIII AND XXIX. _The Editor_                     9

      [Part I, being Volume I and chapters i-iv of Volume II of
      the London edition, 1843.] _Thomas Jefferson Farnham._

          Preface by the First Editor                                 25

          Author's Preface                                            27

          Author's Introduction                                       29

          Author's Table of Contents                                  41

          Text of Part I                                              45




With these two volumes our series returns to Oregon, and to the
question already shadowed forth upon the horizon, whether this vast
territory drained by the Columbia River should belong to the United
States or to Great Britain. Since the treaty of joint occupancy (1818)
the English fur-traders had been in almost exclusive control. From the
upper waters of the great rivers that drain the Arctic plains they had
pushed their way across the Rockies down into the fertile southern
valleys, and had explored, mapped, and threaded the entire region
lying between Spanish territory on the south and Russian on the north.
Between the great mountain barrier on the east, and the Pacific on the
west, they held the country as a vast preserve in which fur-bearing
animals might be reared and hunted. For many years the American right
to joint occupancy lay in abeyance. After his thrilling journey of
exploration and adventure, Jedediah S. Smith was cordially received
at Fort Vancouver (1828), his injuries by predatory Indians avenged,
and his furs purchased by the company's factor; in return for this
courtesy, however, he considered himself in honor bound to restrict the
further trapping enterprises of his firm to the eastern side of the
Rocky Mountains. When Captain Bonneville, with his band of trappers,
reached the forts on the upper Columbia (1833) he was courteously but
firmly refused the privilege of trading at posts of the Hudson's Bay
Company. Thus, fifteen years after joint occupancy had been arranged,
there was scarcely an American in Oregon.

In our volume xxi we traced the rise and fall of the trading
adventures to this far Western territory of Captain Nathaniel Wyeth
of Massachusetts. His two expeditions left on the Willamette River a
small residuum of New Englanders, and before his departure he had seen
the coming of the first American missionaries, pioneers then as now in
advancing American interests. The existence of Oregon had now come to
be known to a considerable body of our people, its fertility and beauty
had been enlarged upon by several writers, its advantages pictured, and
its possession desired.

In returning to the United States, one of the missionaries, Jason Lee,
undertook a tour through the border states of the West, lecturing and
raising funds for his work. In the autumn of 1838 he stopped at the
Illinois town of Peoria, where his glowing descriptions of the land
whence he came produced an impression sufficiently lasting to result
in the organization of an emigration society, which prepared to set
forth for this land of promise early the following spring. Among the
band was a young Vermont lawyer, Thomas Jefferson Farnham, who a few
years earlier had removed to Illinois, and who now sought on the
Western prairies recuperation of his wasting health through outdoor
exploits and change of scene. He also avowed a patriotic purpose to
take possession of this fair territory of Oregon for the American flag,
and to aid in resisting the British fur-trade monopoly. His address and
eloquence won him the honor of being chosen captain of the small band
of nineteen adventurers, none of whom knew aught of wilderness life or
was prepared to endure the hardships of the proposed journey.

Notwithstanding the serious purpose expressed in the motto worked
by Mrs. Farnham upon the flag of the little company--"Oregon or the
Grave"--they set forth in a holiday mood, ill-equipped for traversing
the vast and rugged spaces lying between Illinois and the Pacific
Slope. Each member of the "Oregon Dragoons," as they styled themselves,
was expected to furnish $160 in money to serve for outfit and

The thirtieth of May, 1839, found them leaving Independence, on the
western border of Missouri, provided with "bacon and flour, salt and
pepper sufficient for four hundred miles," as well as the necessary
arms and ammunition carefully packed on horses and mules. By the
advice of two experienced fur-traders returning from the mountains,
the travellers determined upon the Santa Fé trail, probably because
of the escort privileges in connection with the annual caravan just
setting forth. Therein they made a serious mistake, for the route
across the mountains from the upper Arkansas to Snake River valley
was infinitely more difficult and dangerous than the ordinary Oregon
Trail, by way of the North Platte, Sweetwater, and South Pass; it was
also less frequented by experienced mountain men, who could offer
advice and assistance to the amateur travellers. Moreover the usual
seeds of dissension and dissatisfaction had already been sown in
the little party, each blaming others for the hardships and trials
already experienced. Some of Farnham's followers pronounced the leader
incompetent. Several deserted at the Lower Crossing of the Arkansas,
preferring to follow the caravan to Santa Fé; while at Bent's Fort,
on the upper trail, the remainder of the party left their leader with
but four companions, one of these a man who had been accidentally
wounded in crossing the plains. Of the "mutineers," who crossed to Fort
St. Vrain, above Denver, the majority arrived in Oregon that or the
following year.

Farnham, however, having secured a competent guide, with undiminished
energy pushed on across the ranges of the Colorado mountains, through
the mazes of its parks and passes, and halted awhile at Brown's Hole.
This was the most difficult part of the journey. With graphic touches
our author makes us feel the hardships, hunger and thirst, the Indian
alarms, and the surprise and joy of meeting mountain men; while at the
same time he is not oblivious to the rugged grandeur of the scenery,
or the delicate tints of sunrise and sunset, and the majesty of the
starlit nights among the hills. At Fort David Crockett, in Brown's
Hole, two more of Farnham's comrades turned back, discouraged by the
gloomy prospects, and the disheartening accounts of Oregon furnished by
a returning guide. Here also Kelly, the unerring scout, was to leave
the party, now consisting of but three travellers, who were under the
necessity of trusting to the guidance of Shoshoni Indian "Jim" as
far as the hospitable gates of Fort Hall. Here, the Shoshoni guide
was exchanged for a Wallawalla, who contracted to conduct the party
across the arid wastes of Snake River valley, halting briefly at Fort
Boise, and leading the way over the Blue Mountains to the valley of the
Wallawalla and the upper Columbia. There meeting a Christian Cayuse on
his way to Dr. Whitman's mission at Waiilatpu, Farnham turned aside for
a brief rest at this hospitable station, whose owners were "desirous
to ask me how long a balloon line had been running between the States
and the Pacific." Resting a few days under their mission roof, Farnham
gives a favorable report of the activities and the success of the
missionaries. Passing on his way by Fort Wallawalla down the Columbia
to the Hudson's Bay Company's headquarters at Fort Vancouver, he there
received the customary courtesy extended to all travellers in that
distant region, this account closing our volume xxviii.

Three weeks' recuperation from the hardships of the four months of
difficult journeying refreshed our traveller sufficiently to set him
forth on an exploration of the settled portions of the country. He
visited the Willamette valley, where he met the Methodist missionaries,
and his presence furnished the opportunity to discuss the desirability
of American occupation. A petition was thereupon set on foot, of which
Farnham was undoubtedly the author, signed by seventy settlers of the
valley, praying the United States to take them under its protection
and describing the country as "one of the most favored portions of
the globe." The language of the petition being much more favorable to
Oregon than Farnham's later writings, these latter caused some acrimony
among his Willamette hosts, one of whom told Commodore Wilkes, the
following year, that a few days before Farnham left his party were lost
in the woods and obliged to pass a cold and dark night, standing up to
their ankles in mire, which cured the visitor of his enthusiasm for the
country.[1] Certain it is that Farnham wrote from the Sandwich Islands
early in January, 1840, that everything in the Oregon country had been
much overrated except the seat of the Methodist mission.[2]

Whatever may have been the cause of Farnham's change of heart, after
a brief sojourn, he left Oregon on the Hudson's Bay Company's vessel
bound for Hawaii. Thence he took passage for the coast of California,
where he arrived at Monterey during one of those tempestuous
revolutions to which Latin-American governments are subject. A
number of American residents had been imprisoned by the successful
revolutionists on charge of complicity with the losing party. According
to Farnham's own account,[3] given in somewhat grandiloquent style, it
was largely due to his efforts that the lives of the Americans were
saved, and that they were shipped on transports to Mexico for trial.
Lingering a few days longer to enjoy a fiesta on the seashore near
Monterey, and to visit the neighboring Carmelo mission, our traveller
embarked for Santa Barbara, finally arriving at San Blas on the
sixteenth of May, 1840. Thence he undertook a hurried journey across
Mexico and through its gulf to New Orleans, which brought him once more
to the confines of his native land. He now "ascended the Father of
Waters to the holy and blooming plains of my Prairie Home--to wife--and
the graves of those I loved among the trees at Prairie Lodge."

The remainder of Farnham's life was passed in literary labors, and in
travels throughout the United States in search of health. In 1841 he
was in New York City. At one time the family moved to Wisconsin for a
brief period, but soon settled in the neighborhood of Alton, Illinois.
About 1846 Farnham returned to California, where he died at San
Francisco in September, 1848. His wife, Eliza Woodson Farnham, acquired
some reputation as an author and philanthropist. She successfully
attempted prison reform among the women inmates at Sing Sing, for a
time assisted Dr. Howe in the Massachusetts Institute for the Blind,
and revisited California, of whose early days she wrote entertainingly.

No doubt Farnham's books did much to awaken interest in the Western
country, and to call attention to its possibilities. Written in an
easy, attractive style, although somewhat garrulous in tone and
inclined to speculative digressions, they were in their day popular
works and ran through several editions, being widely read in the
Eastern and Middle States.[4] Their interest for our present series
lies chiefly in the description of the journey across the plains,
by a route differing much from those of other travellers. Farnham's
descriptions are detailed and well phrased. The first after Pike to
thread the passes of the upper Arkansas, he vividly portrays the
Colorado mountain valleys, streams, and ranges, the grandeur and
nobility of the views, and the fertility of the great parks, and makes
his readers realize the hardy endurance needed for such mountain
journeyings in that early day. Encounters with Indians were rare in
these regions, but occasional meetings with solitary trappers add a
human interest to the picture of the wilderness. The life of these
mountain men--their Indian families, their poverty, generosity,
recklessness, and almost passionate attachment for the wild life that
claimed them--Farnham describes with a sympathetic touch. He also
gathered information at first hand concerning the Indians of the
region, the status of the fur-trade, and the far-reaching operations
of the Hudson's Bay Company. His information on Oregon is, to be sure,
largely the report of hearsay. He includes in his descriptions the
vast region of New Caledonia, whose factors he met at Fort Vancouver,
and whose resources and geography he describes in general terms. The
value of his Oregon material lies chiefly in the reports of his own
experiences and impressions. It is interesting for us to know how
the Western missionary operations, the progress of early Willamette
settlement, and the aspect of the new land impressed a vivacious and
observant New Englander with a gift for easy narrative. His book is
thus an important contribution to our series.

       *       *       *       *       *

The experiences of Father Pierre Jean de Smet, the indefatigable
Jesuit missionary traveller, were introduced to our readers in volume
xxvii of this series, where the initiation of his Flathead mission, in
Bitterroot valley, was narrated, together with his subsequent return to
St. Louis by way of the country of the Crows and the Missouri River.
The second account of his work, which we here republish, is entitled
_Oregon Missions and Travels over the Rocky Mountains in 1845-46_ (New
York, 1847).

After returning from his second journey to the Flathead country, which
included his first visit to the Columbia and the Oregon settlements
(1840-42), Father de Smet went to Europe to obtain re-inforcements for
his mission and apostolic sanction for his work. Gathering a company of
sisters of Notre Dame to lay the foundation of a convent and school in
the Willamette valley, and enlarging his mission forces by the addition
of a Belgian and three Italian priests, Father de Smet embarked from
Antwerp for a sea voyage to the North-west Coast. This was sighted July
28, 1844, after a tedious passage of eight months around Cape Horn.

Having established the nuns in their convent on the Willamette,
Father de Smet set forth across the mountains to visit his aboriginal
neophytes, who had been gathered at the missions of St. Mary and St.
Francis Borgia. On his way he instituted the mission of St. Ignatius
for the Pend d'Oreilles on the lake of that name. The following year,
a great journey was accomplished by the intrepid missionary in search
of the warlike Blackfeet, whose raids were so disastrous to the
peaceable Indians surrounding the missions. Thinking best to approach
them through the medium of the Hudson's Bay Company's traders, De
Smet proceeded to the head of Columbia River, crossed the divide to
the waters of the Saskatchewan, and found himself at the company's
Rocky Mountain House on October 5, 1845. After negotiations with the
Blackfeet, he proceeded thence to Fort Augustus, where were spent the
early weeks of the winter of 1846. Impatient to be at work, the eager
traveller left his comfortable quarters early in March, proceeding on
the ice to Jasper House, at the eastern end of Athabasca Pass, pressing
on to the "Foot of the Great Glaciere," there awaiting the Columbian
fur-trade brigade which arrived early in May. The traders reported the
pass in a dangerous condition, for the snow was deep and in a melting
state, and snow-shoes were the only possible means of travelling.
Despite his unwieldy bulk, and his unacquaintance with such mode of
travelling, the resolute missionary immediately donned the prescribed
foot-gear and amid much hardship and suffering made his way with his
faithful Indian guides over the mountain barrier to the forts of New
Caledonia. Thence he descended the Columbia to Fort Colville which he
reached by the end of May. Allowing himself but a brief rest, he once
more made the round of his Oregon missions, going to Vancouver and the
Willamette, back across the Spokane plains to the Cœur d'Alène mission,
and finally to St. Mary's, "the nursery of our missionary operations in
the Far West."

The expenses of the enlarging missions required consideration, so
Father de Smet was deputed to visit St. Louis in their behalf. On the
way he once more sought his cherished object of securing peace with the
Blackfeet. This time his mission proved successful, for after three
weeks in a Blackfoot camp the good priest had the happiness not only to
establish an alliance between the Flathead chiefs who accompanied him
and their redoubtable foes, but also of reconciling among the Blackfeet
themselves two warring bands of Blood and Piegan Indians. With a
thankful heart the missionary embarked from Fort Lewis, near the site
of the later Fort Benton, leaving Father Point to continue his labors
among the new admirers of the "black gowns."

Floating in a tiny skiff down the upper Missouri, Fort Union was
reached October 11; Fort Berthold was passed seven days later, and
the end of the month found our tireless traveller the guest of Honoré
Picotte at the American Company's Fort Pierre. Just below Council
Bluffs he encountered Brigham Young and his settlement of ten thousand
Mormons, whose persecutions and sufferings the good father declares,
"will one day probably form a prominent part of the history of the Far
West." Once more in St. Louis, the missionary terminates his volume
with a sketch of a Potawatomi mission and a graphic account of the
custom of human sacrifice among the Pawnee Loups.

The later career of Father de Smet falls without the field of our
inquiry. Although in "labors abundant" until the end of his days, he
never returned as missionary to the mountain tribes among whom his
earlier days were so happily but strenuously spent. The superiors
of his society found other work for him in the province of St.
Louis, permitting him only an occasional visit of supervision to his
"dear Indians" of the Far West. Thrice his aid was requested by the
United States government to assist in pacification, and in important
Indian negotiations. His influence and fame among the red men was so
great that a sight of his black robe was sufficient to impel them
to a peaceful humor. His services to Western settlement were thus

In the volume of _Oregon Missions_, which we here republish, De Smet
is seen in the fullness of his powers, physical and mental. With few
words, but with graphic touches, he describes the regions through which
he passes, and the Indian tribes and their customs--thus adding much to
the material on far Western geography and ethnology which has already
been included in our series.

In the preparation of both these volumes for the press, the Editor
has had the assistance of Louise Phelps Kellogg, Ph.D., his editorial
assistant on the staff of the Wisconsin Historical Library.

                                                                 R. G. T.

  MADISON, WIS., June, 1906.


[1] Charles Wilkes, _Narrative of United States Exploring Expedition_
(Philadelphia 1844), iv, p. 348.

[2] _Niles' Register_, lviii, p. 242.

[3] _Travels in the Californias and Scenes in the Pacific Ocean_ (New
York, 1844).

[4] In successive editions, his books appear under different titles;
but the subject matter is largely the same, one detailing his
experiences crossing the continent and in Oregon, the other narrating
the California visit. To the latter was added in later editions a
history of the American conquest of California. Farnham also published
a work on Mexico, in style similar to the others.

                PRAIRIES, ETC., MAY 21-OCTOBER 16, 1839

                   *       *       *       *       *

    Reprint of Volume I and chapters i-iv of Volume II of original
                         London edition, 1843

[Illustration: TRAVELS











Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty



This authentic account of the Great Western Prairies and Oregon
Territory supplies a deficiency which has been felt for a long time.
The author, by his own personal observations, has been enabled to
furnish a very interesting narrative of travel; and whether he treats
of the Prairies, or of the Oregon region, the various incidents related
by him cannot fail to give entertainment and instruction.

With respect to the Introduction, in which the Author asserts the
claims of the United States to the Oregon Territory little need be said
here: the subject will no doubt receive the full consideration of the
Governments interested in the decision of the question.

  London, 1843.


It was customary in old times for all Authors to enter the world
of letters on their knees, and with uncovered head, and a bow of
charming meekness write themselves some brainless dolt's "most humble
and obedient servant." In later days, the same feigned subserviency
has shown itself in other forms. One desires that some will kindly
pardon the weakness and imbecility of his production; for, although
these faults may exist in his book, he wrote under "most adverse
circumstances," as the crying of a hopeful child, the quarrels of his
poultry, and other disasters of the season.

Another, clothed with the mantle of the sweetest self-complacency,
looks out from his Preface, like a sun-dog on the morning sky, and
merely _shines out_ the query, "Am I not a Sun?" while he secures a
retreat for his self-love, in case any body should suppose he ever
indulged such a singular sentiment.

{viii} A few others of our literary shades make no pretensions to
modesty. They hold out to the world no need of aid in laying the
foundations of their fame; and, however adverse the opinions of the
times may be to their claims to renown, they are sure of living
hereafter, and only regret they should have lived a hundred years
before the world was prepared to receive them.

There is another class, who, confident that they understand the
subjects they treat of, if nothing else, and that, speaking plain
truth for the information of plain men, they cannot fail to narrate
matter of interest concerning scenes or incidents they have witnessed,
and sensations they have experienced--trouble not themselves with the
qualms of inability, or lack of polish, but speak from the heart.
These write their names on their title-pages, and leave their readers
at leisure to judge of their merits as they develop themselves in the
work itself, without any special pleading or any deprecatory prayers to
the reviews, by

                                                              THE AUTHOR


The Oregon Territory forms the terminus of these Travels; and, as that
country is an object of much interest on both sides of the Atlantic,
I have thought proper to preface my wanderings there by a brief
discussion of the question as to whom it belongs.

By treaties between the United States and Spain and Mexico and Russia,
the southern boundary of Oregon is fixed on the 42nd parallel of
north latitude; and the northern on an east and west line, at 54° 40´
north.[5] Its natural boundary on the east is the main ridge of the
Rocky Mountains, situated about four hundred miles east of the Pacific
Ocean, which washes it on the west. From these data the reader will
observe that it is about six hundred miles in length, and four hundred
in breadth.

According to the well-established laws of nations applicable to the
premises, the title to the sovereignty over it depends upon the prior
discovery and occupancy {x} of it, and upon cessions by treaty from
the first discoverer and occupant. These several important matters I
proceed to examine, with Greenough's History of the North-west Coast
of America, and the works therein named, before me as sources of

From the year 1532 to 1540, the Spanish government sent four
expeditions to explore the north-west coast of America, in search of
what did not exist--a water communication from the Pacific to the
Atlantic. These fleets were severally commanded by Mazuela, Grijalva,
Becera, and Ulloa. They visited the coast of California, and the
south-western shore of Oregon.[7]

The next naval expedition, under the same Power, commanded by Bartoleme
Ferrello, penetrated to the north as far as latitude 43°, and
discovered Cape Blanco.[8]

Juan de Fuca discovered and entered the Straits that bear his name
in the year 1592. He spent twenty days within the Straits in making
himself acquainted with the surrounding country, trading with the
natives, and in taking possession of the adjacent territories in
the name of the Spanish Crown.[9] The Straits de Fuca enter the land
in latitude 49° north, and, running {xi} one hundred miles in a
south-easterly direction, change their course north-westwardly, and
enter the ocean again under latitude 51° north. Thus it appears that
Spain discovered the Oregon Coast from latitude 42° to 49° north two
hundred and fifty-one years ago; and, as will appear by reference
to dates, one hundred and eighty-four years prior to the celebrated
English Expedition under Captain Cook.[10]

In 1602, and subsequent years, Corran and Viscaino, in the employment
of Spain, surveyed many parts of the Oregon Coast, and in the following
year Aguiler, in the same service, discovered the mouth of the Umpqua
River in latitude 44° north.[11]

In August, 1774, Parez and Martinez, under the Spanish flag,
discovered and anchored in Nootka Sound. It lies between 49° and 50° of
north latitude.[12]

In 1774 and 1775 the north-west coast was explored by Parez and
Martinez of the Spanish service, as far north as the 58th parallel of

On the 6th day of May, 1789, the Spanish Captain Martinez, commanding
two national armed vessels, took possession of Nootka Sound and the
adjoining country. {xii} Previous to this event, say the authorities
referred to, no jurisdiction had been exercised by the subjects of any
civilized power on any part of the north-west coast of America between
37° and 60° of north latitude.

Thus is it shown on how firm and incontrovertible data the Spanish
claims rest to the prior discovery and occupancy of the Oregon

But as against England this claim was rendered if possible more certain
by the treaty of February 10th, 1763, between Spain, England and
France--by which England was confirmed in her Canadian possessions,
and Spain in her discoveries and purchased possessions west of the
Mississippi. If, then, England has any claim to Oregon as derived from
Spain, it must rest on treaty stipulations entered into subsequently to
the 10th of February, 1763.

We accordingly find her to have formed a treaty with Spain in the year
1800, settling the difficulties between the two powers in relation to
Nootka Sound. By the first article of the convention, Spain agreed to
restore to England those portions of the country around Nootka Sound
which England {xiii} has so occupied in regard to time and manner as to
have acquired a right to them. The 5th article stipulates as follows:

"5th. As well in the places which are to be restored to the British
subjects by virtue of the first article as in all other ports of the
North-West Coast of North America, or of the Island, adjacent, situate
to the north of the coast already occupied by Spain wherein the
subjects of either of the two Powers shall have made settlements since
the month of April 1789, or shall hereafter make any. The subjects of
the other shall have free access and shall carry on their trade without
any disturbance or molestation."[14]

The inquiries that naturally arise here are, on what places or parts
of the North-West Coast did this article operate; what rights were
granted by it, and to what extent the United States, as the successors
of Spain, in the ownership of Oregon, are bound by this treaty?

These will be considered in their order.

Clearly the old Spanish settlements of the Californias were not
included among the places or parts of the North-West Coast on which
this article was intended to operate, for the reason that England, the
party in {xiv} interest, has never claimed that they were. But on the
contrary, in all her diplomatic and commercial intercourse with Spain
since 1800, she has treated the soil of the Californias with the same
consideration that she has any portion of the Spanish territories in
Europe.--And since that country has formed a department of the Mexican
Republic, England has set up no claims within its limits under this

Was Nootka Sound embraced among the places referred to in this article?
That was the only settlement on the North-West Coast, of the subjects
of Spain or England, made between the month of April, 1787, and the
date of the treaty, and was undoubtedly embraced in the Fifth Article.
And so was the remainder of the coast, lying northward of Nootka, on
which Spain had claims. It did not extend south of Nootka Sound. Not
an inch of soil in the valley of the Columbia and its tributaries was
included in the provisions of the treaty of 1763.

Our next inquiry relates to the nature and extent of the rights at
Nootka, and northward, which England acquired by this treaty. They
are defined in the concluding phrase of the article before cited. The
subjects {xv} of both the contracting Powers "shall have free access,
and shall carry on their trade without disturbance or molestation."
In other words the subjects of England shall have the same right to
establish trading posts and carry on a trade with the Indians, as were,
or should be enjoyed by Spanish subjects in those regions. Does this
stipulation abrogate the sovereignty of Spain over those territories?
England herself can scarcely urge with seriousness a proposition so
ridiculously absurd. A grant of an equal right to settle in a country
for purposes of trade, and a guarantee against "disturbance" and
"molestation," does not, in any vocabulary, imply a cession of the
sovereignty of the territory in which these acts are to be done.

The number and nature of the rights granted to England by this treaty,
are simply a right to the joint occupancy of Nootka and the Spanish
territories to the northward, for purposes of trade with the Indians;
a joint tenancy, subject to be terminated at the will of the owner of
the title to the fee and the sovereignty; and, if not thus terminated,
to be terminated by the operations of the necessity of things--the
annihilation of the trade {xvi}--the destruction of the Indians
themselves as they should fall before the march of civilisation. It
could not have been a perpetual right, in the contemplation of either
of the contracting parties.

But there are reasons why the provisions of the treaty of 1763 never
had been, and never can be binding on the United States as the
successors of Spain in the Oregon territory.

There is the evidence of private gentlemen of the most undoubted
character to show, that Spain neither surrendered to England any
portion of Nootka, or other parts of the north-west coast; for that
if she offered to do so, the offer was not acted upon by England;
and testimony to the same effect in the debates of the times in the
Parliament of Britain, in which this important fact is distinctly
asserted, authorise us to declare that the treaty of 1763 was annulled
by Spain, and so considered by England herself. And if England did
not mean to show the world that she acquiesced in the non-fulfilment
of Spain, she should have re-asserted her rights, if she thought she
had any, and not left third parties to infer that she had quietly
abandoned them. The United States had every reason to infer {xvii} such
abandonment; and in view of it, thus manifested, purchased Oregon
of Spain. Under these circumstances, with what justice can England,
after the lapse of nearly half a century, come forward and demand
of the successor of Spain rights in Oregon which she thus virtually
abandoned--which were refused by Spain, and to which she never had
the shadow of a right on the score of prior discovery, occupancy or
purchase? The perpetually controlling and selfishness of her policy is
the only plea that history will assign to her in accounting for her
pretensions in this matter.

England also places her claim to Oregon upon the right of discovery.
Let us examine this:--

The first English vessel which visited that coast was commanded by
Francis Drake. He entered the Pacific in 1770[15] and sailed up the
coast to the 45th parallel of north latitude, and then returned to the
38th degree; accepted the crown of the native Prince in the name of
his Queen--called the country New Albion, returned to England and was

{xviii} The portions of Oregon seen by Drake had been seen and explored
by the Spaniards several times within the previous thirty years.[16]

Sir Thomas Cavendish next came upon the coast; but did not see so much
of it as Drake had seen.[17]

The celebrated Captain Cook followed Cavendish. He saw the coast in
latitude 43 and 48 degrees. He passed the Straits de Fuca without
seeing them, and anchored in Nootka Sound on the 16th February,
1779.[18] In trading with the Indians there, he found that they had
weapons of iron, ornaments of brass, and spoons of Spanish manufacture.
Nootka had been discovered and occupied by the Spaniards four years
before Cook arrived.

The subsequent English navigators--Messrs. Vancouver,[19] and others,
so far as the Oregon coast was the field of their labours, were
followers in the tracks pointed out by the previous discoveries of the

So ends the claim of England to Oregon, on the right of prior
discovery. As opposed to England, Spain's rights on this principle were

{xix} By the treaty of Florida, ratified February 22nd, 1819, Spain
ceded to the United States her right in the Oregon territory, in the
following words: "His Catholic Majesty cedes to the said United States
all his rights, claims, and pretensions to any territories east and
north of said line;" meaning the 42nd parallel of north latitude,
commencing at the head waters of the Arkansas, and running west to the
Pacific; "and for himself, his heirs and successors, renounces all
claim to the said territories for ever."

But the United States have rights to Oregon which of themselves
annihilate the pretensions not only of England but the world. Her
citizens first discovered that the country on which Nootka Sound is
situated was an island; they first navigated that part of the Straits
of Fuca lying between Puget's Sound and Queen Charlotte's Island, and
discovered the main coast of north-west America, from latitude 48° to
50° north. American citizens also discovered Queen Charlotte's Island,
sailed around it, and discovered the main land to the east of it, as
far north as latitude 55°.[20]

England can show no discoveries between these latitudes so important as
these; and consequently has not equal rights with the {xx} Americans
as a discoverer, to that part of Oregon north of the 49th degree of
latitude. We also discovered the Columbia River;[21] and its whole
valley, in virtue of that discovery, accrues to us under the laws of
nations. One of these laws is that the nation which discovers the mouth
of a river, by implication discovers the whole country watered by it.
We discovered the mouth of the Columbia and most of its branches;
and that valley is ours against the world--ours, also, by purchase
from Spain, the first discoverer and occupant of the coast--ours by
prior occupancy of its great river and valley, and by that law which
gives us, in virtue of such discovery and occupancy, the territories
naturally dependent upon such valley.[22] We are the rightful and sole
owner of all those parts of Oregon, which are not watered by the
Columbia, lying on its northern and southern border, and which, in the
language of the law, are naturally dependent upon it. Oregon territory,
for all these reasons is the rightful property of the United States.


[5] Our treaty with Spain, made in 1819, adjusted the boundary as far
as the Pacific Ocean, between the latter's possessions in North America
and those of the United States; see Gregg's _Commerce of the Prairies_,
in our volume xix, p. 217, note 52. By this convention the United
States considered itself the heir of all Spanish claims north of the
international boundary line (42°).

Our treaty with Mexico, in 1828, ratified the boundary as defined by
the Spanish treaty of 1819.

By our convention with Russia in 1824, the two countries agreed to make
no settlements north or south, respectively, of the line 54° 40´. This
by no means established the United States claim as far as the line

[6] Robert Greenhow, born in Virginia in 1800, was educated at William
and Mary College and later studied medicine in New York, afterwards
spending some years in Europe. In 1828 he was appointed clerk in the
department of state at Washington, where he soon rose to the position
of official translator and librarian, an office retained until 1850,
when he went to California with the United States Land Commission,
dying in San Francisco in 1854. In 1837 he prepared, at the request
of the Senate, a _History of the Discovery of the North-west Coast_,
published in _Senate Docs._, 26 Cong., 1 sess., 174. This was later
expanded into a _History of Oregon and California_ (Boston, 1845).
His access to the records of the state department, and his knowledge
of Spanish sources, make Greenhow's books authoritative in their

[7] In his _History of Oregon and California_, Greenhow adds
information to that given in his first volume, regarding these
expeditions. His chief source of information was the work of Herrera,
although he secured journals of some of the voyagers from W. H.
Prescott. All of these expeditions were inspired by Hernando de Cortez.
The first (1532) was headed by his kinsman Hurtado de Mendoza, whose
lieutenant Juan de Mazuela brought back one vessel after his superior
officer had been killed. In 1533, Hernando Grivalja and Diego Becerra
were sent to search for the survivors. The former returned without
touching mainland; Becerra was killed in a mutiny, and his pilot,
Fortuño Ximenes, is supposed to have touched the southern end of the
peninsula of Lower California. Farnham omits mention of Cortez's own
expedition of 1535-36, when he also is supposed to have reached Lower
California. In 1539-40, Francisco de Ulloa proved that this was not an
island, and explored its coast to about 30° north latitude.--ED.

[8] This relates to the voyage (1542-43) of Juan Rodriguez de Cabrillo.
The leader of the expedition died upon one of the Santa Barbara Islands
(January, 1543), but his pilot Bartolomé Ferrelo sailed farther north.
The location of his northern point of exploration is given as 43°,
which would be near Cape Blanco; but recent editors consider that
there was an early error of calculation, and that Cape Mendocino is
the more probable point. Ferrelo in all likelihood advanced as far as
the southern boundary of Oregon. See translation of journal of the
expedition, with valuable notes by H. W. Henshaw, in _United States
Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian_ (Washington,
1879), vii, pp. 293-314.--ED.

[9] The voyage of Juan de Fuca is generally considered apocryphal.
Greenhow, however, thinks it probable, from the correspondence of the
straits now called by his name with the great passage he claimed to
have entered. The only authority for the alleged voyage of De Fuca, who
was a Greek pilot in the service of Spain, is the relation of Michael
Lok, an Englishman, who claimed to have met De Fuca at Venice. Lok's
story was published by Purchas in his _Pilgrims_ (1625) and on its face
was a bid for patronage from the English court.--ED.

[10] For Cook's discovery of the Hawaiian Islands and his death
thereupon, see Franchère's _Narrative_ in our volume vi, p. 209, note
21. During his northward expedition he skirted the entire North-west
Coast from Cape Mendocino to North Cape, in the Arctic Ocean, not
finding, however, either the entrance to the Columbia or to Puget

[11] The expedition commanded by Admiral Torribio Gomez de Corvan and
Sebastian Vizcaino was equipped by the Mexican governor, Count de
Monterey (1602). Corvan returned home from the harbor of Monterey,
while Vizcaino with his lieutenant Martin Aguilar pushed northward. The
identification of the headlands which they named, is now difficult. H.
H. Bancroft, _History of the North-west Coast_ (San Francisco, 1886),
i, p. 148, concludes that neither Vizcaino nor Aguilar passed 42°
latitude. Farnham's identification of the river described by Aguilar as
the Umpqua appears to rest upon his own authority.--ED.

[12] The account of the expedition of Juan Perez, who with his
lieutenant Estévan Martinez penetrated to the northern end of Queen
Charlotte's Island, and passed some months in a bay probably to
be identified with Nootka Sound, was not given to the world by
the Spaniards until years later; the English therefore considered
themselves, in the person of Captain Cook, the discoverers of this
portion of the North-west Coast.--ED.

[13] This refers to the voyage of Bruno Heceta in 1775, Juan Perez
being second in command. This expedition discovered the mouth of the
Columbia and took possession for Spain of the entire North-west Coast
from 42° to 55° of north latitude.--ED.

[14] This is a brief but imperfect résumé of what is known as the
Nootka Sound controversy. Martinez seized three English vessels,
and carried them as a prize to San Bias, Mexico. The English
resenting this, war nearly ensued, but the difficulty was adjusted
by the Nootka convention, signed October 28, 1790 (not 1800). The
Washington State Historical Society has recently signalized this event
by erecting a monument at Nootka Sound, containing the following
inscription: "Vancouver and Quadra [English and Spanish representatives
respectively] met here in August 1792 under the treaty between
Spain and Great Britain of October 1790. Erected by the Washington
University State Historical Society, August, 1903." The matter was
not wholly adjusted until 1795. Consult Bancroft, _North-west Coast_,
i, pp. 204-238; Greenhow, _Oregon and California_, pp. 185-215, and
particularly W. R. Manning, "Nootka Sound Controversy," in American
Historical Association _Report_, 1904, pp. 283-475.--ED.

[15] This date is incorrect. It was in 1577; and he sailed to the 48th
parallel of north latitude.--ENGLISH EDITOR.

[16] Much has been written on Drake's famous voyage of circumnavigation
(1577-80), when first of any known Englishmen he explored the
North-west Coast of America, searching for a North-west passage.
Bancroft concludes (_North-west Coast_, p. 145) that he did not go
north of 43° north latitude. See also on this subject, Julian S.
Corbett, _Drake and the Tudor Navy_ (New York, 1898), i, p. 306; and
especially Miller Christy, _Silver Map of the World_ (London, 1904),
p. 20, wherein, on the evidence of the chart, Drake's voyage is traced
as far north as 48°. For Drake's Bay, see our volume vi, p. 257, note

[17] It is generally conceded that Sir Thomas Cavendish's freebooting
expedition of 1587 did not proceed north of the peninsula of Lower

[18] He was killed on the 14th February, 1779.--ENGLISH ED.

[19] For Vancouver see Franchère's _Narrative_, given in our volume vi,
p. 184, note 2.--ED.

[20] Farnham here refers to the voyages of the "Columbia" and
"Washington" (1787), sent out by Boston merchants under command of
Captains John Kendrick and Robert Gray. After wintering at Nootka
(1788-89), Gray explored the coast to the northward. Unaware of earlier
English explorations, he christened Queen Charlotte's as Washington
Island. The question of Kendrick's exploration (1790) of Puget Sound is
much in doubt. Farnham makes a specious plea at this point--his cited
authority, Greenhow, admits the discovery (1787) of Queen Charlotte's
Island by Dixon, and by Berkely (1787) of the Straits of Juan de
Fuca. A recent historian of Oregon (H. S. Lyman, _History of Oregon_,
ii, p. 93), however, claims that the Americans by their boldness of
exploration and exact charting of the northern shores, were the real
discoverers of the territory as far as 54° 40´.--ED.

[21] Referring to the second voyage of Captain Robert Gray. See our
volume vi, p. 183, note 1.--ED.

[22] The prior occupancy was the settlement at Astoria, for which see
prefaces to Franchère's _Narrative_, in our volume vi, and Ross's
_Oregon Settlers_ in our volume vii. After the close of the War of
1812-15, the United States made application in accordance with the
Treaty of Ghent for the restoration of Astoria, which accordingly was
formally transferred, October 6, 1818, to Commissioner J. H. Prevost
and Captain J. Biddle. No use was made, however, of this sovereignty,
the treaty of joint occupancy being signed October 20, of the same



  The Rendezvous--The Destination--The Education of Mules--The
    Santa Fé Traders--The Mormons--The Holy War--Entrance upon the
    Indian Territory--A Scene--An Encampment--A Loss--A Hunt--The
    Osage River--A Meeting and Parting--Kauzaus Indians--An
    Indian Encampment--Council Grove--Ruins--An Indian and his
    Wants--Elk--A Tempest--Captain Kelly--A comfortless Night         45


  Scarcity of Food--An Incident--Looing and Bleating--Messrs.
    Bents--Trade--Little Arkansas--A Nauseous Meal--A Flood--An
    Onset--A Hard Ride--The Deliverance--The Arkansas--An
    Attack--The Similitude of Death--The Feast and a bit of
    Philosophy--The Traders Walworth and Alvarez's Teams--A
    Fright--A Nation of Indians--Their Camp and Hunts--A Treaty--A
    Tempest--Indian Butchering--A Hunt among the Buffalo--A
    Wounded Man--A Drive--A Storm and its Enemy--Night among the
    Buffalo--The Country and the Heavens--The Ford--A Mutiny
    and its Consequences--Blistered Fingers--Liberty--Bent's
    Fort--Disbanding                                                  69

  {xxii} CHAPTER III

  The Great Prairie Wilderness--Its
    Rivers and Soil--Its People and their
    and Kaskaskias--Ottowas--Shawnees or
    and Foxes--Iowas--Otoes--Omehas--Puncahs--Pawnees,
    remnants--Knistineaux--Naudowisses or Sioux--Chippeways, and
    their traditions                                                 108


  Fort William--its Structure, Owners, People, Animals, Business,
    Adventures, and Hazards--A Division--A March--Fort el
    Puebla--Trappers and Whisky--A Genius--An Adventurous
    Iroquois--A Kentuckian--Horses and Servant--A Trade--A
    Start--Arkansas and Country--Wolfano Mountains--Creeks--Rio
    Wolfano--A Plague of Egypt--Cordilleras--James' Peak--Pike's
    Peak--A Bath--The Prison of the Arkansas--Entrance of the Rocky
    Mountains--A Vale                                                161


  An Ascent--A Misfortune--A Death--The Mountain of the Holy
    Cross--Leaping Pines--Killing a Buffalo {xxiii}--Asses and
    Tyrants--Panther, &c.--Geography--Something about descending
    the Colorado of the West--Dividing Ridges--A Scene--Tumbleton's
    Park--A War Whoop--Meeting of Old Fellow Trappers--A Notable
    Tramp--My Mare--The etiquette of the Mountains--Kelly's Old
    Camp, &c.--A Great Heart--Little Bear River--Vegetables
    and Bitterness--Two White Men, a Squaw and Child--A Dead
    Shot--What is Tasteful--Trapping--Blackfoot and Sioux--A Bloody
    Incident--A Cave--Hot Spring--The Country--A Surprise--American
    and Canadian Trappers--The Grand River--Old Park--Death before
    us--The Mule--Despair                                            213

  {v} CHAPTER VI {I of Vol. II, original ed.}

  Bear Hunt--Sulphur Puddle--The River--Wolves
    and their Fare--Dog Eating--Little Snake
    River--Thirst--Deserts--Mountains--Mountain Hottentots--Brown's
    Hole--Fort David Crockett--Traders--Winter and its
    Hilarities--Love--The Way to get a Wife--A Recommendation to
    Civilized People--The Colorado of the West--Club Indians--The
    Shoshonies--An Indian Temperance Society--The Crows--The
    Blackfeet--Unburied Skeletons--The Arrapahoes, and Citizenship
    among them--War Parties--Lodge of the Great Spirit--Religious
    Ceremonies--The Vow and an Incident--The First Shoshonie who
    saw a White Man                                                  243


  An Arrival from Fort Hall--An Account from Oregon--Return
    of two of my companions to the States--A startling
    Condition--An Indian Guide--A Farewell--{vi} How a
    Horse studies Geology--A Camp--Dog Mutton superseded--A
    Scene--Sheetskadee--Butes--Desolation--Midnight Scene
    in the Mountains--Indian Jim and the Buffalo--Hungry
    Stomachs--A fat Shot--Fine Eyesight--An old Trapper picked
    up--Beautiful Desert--"Hos, Hos"--Meek the Bear Killer--A wild
    Vale--Steamboat Spring--Natural Soda Fountains--Neighbouring
    Landscape--A hard Drive--Valley of Chasm--Nature's Vase--A
    heavy March--Passing the Mountains--A charming Gorge--Entrance
    into Oregon--The South Branch of the Columbia--Fort Hall and
    its Hospitalities                                                274


  The Rocky Mountains and their Spurs--Geography of the
    Mountain Region--Wyeth--The Outset--The Beaver Catcher's
    Bride--Trois Butes--Addition from a Monastery--Orisons--A
    Merry Mountain Trapper--Root Diggers--Enormous
    Springs--Volcanic Hearths and Chasms--Carbo--An old Chief--A
    Bluff--Boisais River--Incident of Trade--The Bonaks--The
    Dead Wail--Fort Boisais, its Salmon, Butter, and Hearty
    Cheer--Mons. Payette--Curiosity--Departure--Passing the
    Blue Mountains--The Grandeur of them--Their Forests,
    Flowers, and Torrents--Descent of the Mountains--Plain,
    a Christian Crane--Arrival at Dr. Whitman's
    Ermitinger--Blair--Nez Percés--Racing--Indian Horse
    Training--Sabbath and its joys in the Wilderness                 303

  {vii} CHAPTER IX {IV of Vol. II}

  Parting with Friends--Wallawalla Valley--Fort Wallawalla--Mr.
    Pambrun--The Columbia--Country down its banks--What was
    seen of Rock Earth--Wood, Fire, and Water--Danger, &c. from
    the Heights--Falling Mountain--Morning Hymn to God--Giant's
    Causeway--A View of the Frozen Sublime--Tum Tum Orter' and
    other appurtenances--Dalles--Methodist Episcopal Mission--Mr.
    and Mrs. Perkins--Mr. Lee--Mission Premises--Egyptian
    Pyramids--Indians--How Fifty Indians can fight One--Boston--The
    Result of a War--Descent of the Columbia in a Canoe--A
    Night on the River--The Poetry of the Wilderness--The
    Cascades--Postage--Dr. McLaughlin--Indian Tombs--Death--A
    Race--The River and its Banks--Night again--Mounts Washington
    and Jefferson--Arrival--Fort Vancouver--British Hospitality      346

                     TRAVELS IN THE GREAT WESTERN
                          PRAIRIES, &c., &c.

                               [PART I]


  The Rendezvous--The Destination--The Education of Mules--The
    Santa Fé Traders--The Mormons--The Holy War--Entrance upon the
    Indian Territory--A Scene--An Encampment--A Loss--A Hunt--The
    Osage River--A Meeting and Parting--Kauzaus Indians--An
    Indian Encampment--Council Grove--Ruins--An Indian and his
    Wants--Elk--A Tempest--Captain Kelly--A comfortless Night.

On the 21st of May, 1839, the author and sixteen others arrived in the
town of Independence, Missouri.[23] Our destination was the Oregon
Territory. Some of our number sought health in the wilderness--others
sought the wilderness for its own sake--and others sought a residence
among the ancient forests and lofty heights of the valley of the
Columbia; and each actuated by his own peculiar reasons, or interest,
began his preparations for leaving the frontier.[24] {2} Pack mules
and horses and pack-saddles were purchased and prepared for service.
Bacon and flour, salt and pepper, sufficient for four hundred miles,
were secured in sacks; our powder-casks were wrapt in painted canvas,
and large oil-cloths were purchased to protect these and our sacks of
clothing from the rains; our arms were thoroughly repaired; bullets
were moulded; powder-horns and cap-boxes filled; and all else done that
was deemed needful, before we struck our tent for the Indian territory.

But before leaving this little woodland town, it will be interesting
to remember that it is the usual place of rendezvous and "outfit" for
the overland traders to Santa Fé and other Mexican states. In the month
of May of each year, these traders congregate here, and buy large
Pennsylvania waggons, and teams of mules to convey their calicoes,
cottons, cloths, boots, shoes, etc. over the plains to that distant
and hazardous market. It is quite amusing to greenhorns, as those are
called who have never been engaged in the trade, to see the mules make
their first attempt at practical pulling. They are harnessed in a team,
two upon the shaft, and the remainder two abreast in {3} long swinging
iron traces; and then, by way of initiatory intimation that they have
passed from a life of monotonous contemplation, in the seclusion of
their nursery pastures, to the bustling duties of the "Santa Fé trade,"
a hot iron is applied to the thigh or shoulder of each, with an embrace
so cordially warm, as to leave there, in blistered perfection, the
initials of their last owner's name. This done, a Mexican Spaniard,
as chief muleteer, mounts the right-hand wheel mule, and another, the
left hand one of the span next the leaders, while four or five others,
as foot-guard, stand on either side, armed with whips and thongs. The
team is straightened--and now comes the trial of passive obedience.
The chief muleteer gives the shout of march, and drives his long spurs
into the sides of the animal that bears him; his companion before
follows his example; but there is no movement. A leer--an unearthly
bray, is the only response of these martyrs to human supremacy. Again
the team is straightened, again the rowel is applied, the body-guard
on foot raise the shout, and all apply the lash at the same moment.
The untutored animals kick and leap, rear and plunge, and fall in
their harness. In fine, they act the mule, {4} and generally succeed
in breaking neck or limb of some one of their number, and in raising a
tumult that would do credit to any order of animals accustomed to long

After a few trainings, however, of this description, they move off in
fine style. And, although some luckless animal may at intervals brace
himself up to an uncompromising resistance of such encroachment upon
his freedom, still, the majority preferring passive obedience to active
pelting, drag him onward, till, like themselves, he submits to the
discipline of the traces.

'Independence' was the first location of the _Mormons_ west of the
Mississippi. Here they laid out grounds for their temple, built the
'Lord's store,' and in other ways prepared the place for the permanent
establishment of their community. But, becoming obnoxious to their
neighbours, they crossed the Missouri, and founded the town of 'Far
West.' In 1838 they recommenced certain practices of their faith in
their new abode, and were ejected from the state by its military

The misfortunes of these people seem to have arisen from proceeding
upon certain rules of action peculiar to themselves. The basis of
these rules is the assumption that {5} they are the "Saints of the
Most High," to whom the Lord promised of old the inheritance of the
earth; and that as such they have the right to take possession of
whatever they may be inspired to desire. Any means are justifiable,
in their belief, to bring about the restoration to the "Children of
God" of that which He has bequeathed to them. In obedience to these
rules of action, any Mormon or "Latter-Day Saint" labouring for hire
on a "worldly" man's plantation, claimed the right to direct what
improvements should be made on the premises; what trees should be
felled, and what grounds should, from time to time, be cultivated.
If this prerogative of saintship were questioned by the warm-blooded
Missourians, they were with great coolness and gravity informed that
their godly servants expected in a short time to be in comfortable
possession of their employers' premises; for that the Latter-Days
had come, and with them the Saints; that wars and carnage were to
be expected; and that the Latter-Day Prophet had learned, in his
communications with the Court of Heaven, that the Missourians were to
be exterminated on the first enlargement of the borders of "Zion;" and
that over the graves of those "enemies {6} of all righteousness" would
spring that vast spiritual temple which was "to fill the earth."

The prospect of being thus immolated upon the altar of Mormonism,
did not produce so much humility and trembling among these hardy
frontiersmen as the prophet Joe had benevolently desired. On the
contrary, the pious intimation that their throats would be cut
to glorify God, was resisted by some ruthless and sinful act of
self-defence; and all the denunciations of the holy brotherhood were
impiously scorned as idle words. However, in spite of the irreligious
wrath of these deluded, benighted Missourians, the Saints cut timber
wherever they listed on the domains which were claimed by the people of
the world. And if the "Lord's hogs or horses" wanted corn, the farms
in the hands of the wicked were resorted to at a convenient hour of
the night for a supply. In all these cases, the "Saints" manifested
a kind regard to the happiness even of the enemies of their faith.
For whenever they took corn from fields in possession of the world's
people, they not only avoided exciting unholy wrath by allowing
themselves to be seen in the act, but, in order that peace might {7}
reign in the bosoms of the wicked, even, the longest possible time,
they stripped that portion of the harvest field which would be last
seen by the ungodly owner.

The "Church militant," however, being inefficient and weak, the Prophet
Joe declared that it was their duty to use whatever means the Lord
might furnish to strengthen themselves. And as one powerful means would
be the keeping of its doings as much as possible from the world, it
was he said, the will of Heaven, revealed to him in proper form, that
in no case, when called before the ungodly tribunals of this perverse
and blind generation, should they reveal, for any cause, any matter or
thing which might, in its consequences, bring upon the brotherhood the
infliction of those pretended rules of Justice, by the world called
Laws. Under the protection of this prophecy, a band of the brethren
was organized, called the "Tribe of Dan," whose duty it was to take
and bring to the "Lord's store," in the far West, any of the Lord's
personal estate which they might find in the possession of the world,
and which might be useful to the "Saints," in advancing their kingdom.
Great good is said to have been done by this Tribe of Dan; {8} for the
Lord's store was soon filled, and the Saints praised the name of Joe.
The Prophet's face shone with the light of an all-subduing delight at
the increase of "Zion," and the efficiency of his administration.

The Missourians, however, were destitute of the Latter-Day Faith,
and of just views of the rights devised to those, who, in the Lord's
name, should destroy his adversaries, and restore the earth to the
dominion of millennial righteousness. Poor mortals and deluded sinners!
They believed that the vain and worldly enactments of legislative
bodies were to prevail against the inspirations of the Latter-Day
Prophet Joe; and in their unsanctified zeal, declared the Saints to be
thieves, and unjust, and murderous; and the Tribe of Dan to be a pest
to the constitutional and acknowledged inherent and natural right to
acquire, possess, and enjoy property. From this honest difference of
opinion arose the "Mormon War," whose great events are recorded in the
narrative of the "Latter-Day Saints?" Some events, there were, however,
not worthy to find record there, which may be related here.

The Governor of the Missouri[26] ordered {9} out the State troops to
fight and subdue the Mormons, and take from them the property which
the "Tribe of Dan" had deposited in the "Lord's brick store" in the
"citadel of Zion," called "Far West." It was in 1838 they appeared
before the camp of the "Saints" and commanded them to surrender. It
was done in the manner hereafter described. But before this event
transpired, I am informed that the Prophet Joe opened his mouth in the
name of the Lord, and said it had been revealed to him that the scenes
of Jericho were to be re-enacted in Far West; that the angelic host
would appear on the day of battle, and by their power give victory to
the "Saints."

To this end he ordered a breastwork of inch pine boards to be raised
around the camp, to show by this feeble protection against the
artillery of their foes, that their strength was in the "breast-plate
of righteousness," and that they were the soldiers of the militant
portion of the Kingdom of Heaven. There were moments of awful suspense
in the camp of the "Saints." The Missouri bayonets bristled brightly
near their ranks, and an occasional bullet carelessly penetrated the
pine-board rampart, regardless of the inhibition of the {10} Prophet.
The Heavens were gazed upon for the shining host, and listening ears
turned to catch the rushing of wings through the upper air. The demand
of surrender was again and again repeated; but Faith had seized on
Hope, and Delay was the offspring.

At this juncture of affairs, a sturdy old Missourian approached the
brick store, pickaxe in hand, apparently determined to do violence
to the sacred depository. One of the sisters in robes of white
accosted him, and with proper solemnity made known that the "Lord
of the Faithful" had revealed to Joe, the Prophet, that every hand
raised against that "holy structure" would instantly be withered. The
frontiersman hesitated, but the hardihood characteristic of these men
of the rifle returning, he replied, "Well, old gal, I'll go it on one
hand any how." The awful blow was struck; the hand did not wither! "I
doubles up now," said the daring man, and with both hands inflicted
a heavy blow upon a corner brick. It tumbled to the ground, and the
building quickly fell under the weight of a thousand vigorous arms.
The confidence of the Saints in their Prophet waned, and a surrender
followed, {11} Some of the principal men were put in custody, but
the main body were permitted to leave the State without farther
molestation. We afterwards met many of them with their herds, &c., on
the road from Far West to Quincy, Illinois. It was strongly intimated
by the planters in that section of country, that these emigrating
"saints" found large quantities of the "Lord's corn" on their way,
which they appropriated as need suggested to their own and their
animals' wants.

The origin of the "Book of Mormon"[27] was for some time a mystery.
But recent developments prove it to have been written in 1812 by the
Rev. Solomon Spaulding, of New Salem, in the state, Ohio. It was
composed by that gentleman as a historical romance of the long extinct
race who built the mounds and forts which are scattered over the
valley States. Mr. Spaulding read the work while composing it to some
of his friends, who, on the appearance of the book in print, were so
thoroughly convinced of its identity with the romance of their deceased
pastor, that search was made, and the original manuscript found among
his papers. But there was yet a marvel how the work could have got
into the hands of Joe {12} Smith. On further investigation, however,
it appeared that the reverend author had entertained thoughts of
publishing it; and, in pursuance of his intention, had permitted it
to lie a long time in the printing office in which Sidney Rigdon, who
has figured so prominently in the history of the Mormons, was at the
time employed.[28] Rigdon, doubtless, copied poor Spaulding's novel,
and with it, and the aid of Joe Smith, has succeeded in building up a
system of superstition, which, in vileness and falsehood, is scarcely
equalled by that of Mahomet.

Solomon Spaulding was a graduate of Dartmouth College.

On the 30th of May, we found ourselves prepared to move for the Indian
Territory.[29] Our pack-saddles being girded upon the animals, our
sacks of provisions, &c. snugly lashed upon them, and protected from
the rain that had begun to fall, and ourselves well mounted and armed,
we took the road that leads off south-west from Independence in the
direction of Santa Fé.[30] But the rains which had accompanied us
daily since we left Peoria, seemed determined to escort us still,
our ill-natured scowls to the contrary notwithstanding: for we had
travelled only three miles when {13} such torrents fell, that we found
it necessary to take shelter in a neighbouring schoolhouse for the
night. It was dismal enough; but a blazing fire within, and a merry
song from a jovial member of our company imparted as much consolation
as our circumstances seemed to demand, till we responded to the howling
storm the sonorous evidence of sweet and quiet slumber.

The following morning was clear and pleasant, and we were early on
our route. We crossed the stream called Big Blue, a tributary of
the Missouri,[31] about twelve o'clock, and approached the border
of the Indian domains. All were anxious now to see and linger over
every object which reminded us we were still on the confines of that
civilization which we had inherited from a thousand generations; a
vast and imperishable legacy of civil and social happiness. It was,
therefore, painful to approach the last frontier enclosure--the last
habitation of the white man--the last semblance of home. At length
the last cabin was approached. We drank at the well and travelled
on. It was now behind us. All, indeed was behind us with which the
sympathies of our young days had mingled their holy memories. Before
us were the treeless {14} plains of green, as they had been since the
flood--beautiful, unbroken by bush or rock; unsoiled by plough or
spade; sweetly scented with the first blossomings of the spring. They
had been, since time commenced, the theatre of the Indian's prowess--of
his hopes, joys, and sorrows. Here, nations, as the eve of deadly
battle closed around them, had knelt and raised the votive offering to
Heaven, and implored the favour and protection of the Great Spirit who
had fostered their fathers upon the wintry mountains of the North, and
when bravely dying, had borne them to the islands of light beneath the
setting sun. A lovely landscape this, for an Indian's meditation! He
could almost behold in the distance where the plain and sky met, the
holy portals of his after-state so mazy and beautiful was the scene!

Having travelled about twenty-five miles over this beautiful prairie,
we halted on the banks of a small stream at a place called Elm
Grove.[32] Here we pitched our tent, tied our horses to stakes, carried
for that purpose, and after considerable difficulty having obtained
fuel for a fire, cooked and ate for the first time in the Indian

At this encampment final arrangements {15} were made for our journey
over the Prairies. To this end provisions, arms, ammunition, packs and
pack-saddles, were overhauled, and an account taken of our common stock
of goods for trade with the Indians. The result of this examination
was, that we determined to remain here a while, and send back to the
Kauzaus Indian mill for two hundred pounds of flour. We were induced
to take this step by assurances received from certain traders whom we
met coming from the mountains, that the buffalo had not advanced so far
north as to furnish us with their fine hump-ribs so early by a week
or fortnight as we had expected. Officers were also chosen and their
powers defined; and whatever leisure we found from these duties during
a stay of two days, was spent in regaling ourselves with strawberries
and gooseberries, which grew in great abundance near our camp.

Our friends having returned from the mill with the flour for which they
had been despatched, we left Elm Grove on the 3rd of June, travelled
along the Santa Fé trail about fifteen miles, and encamped upon a
high knoll, from which we had an extensive view of the surrounding
plains. The grass was now about four inches in height, and {16} bent
and rose in most sprightly beauty under the gusts of wind which at
intervals swept over it. We remained here a day and a half, waiting
for two of our number who had gone in search of a horse that had left
our encampment at Elm Grove. The time, however, passed agreeably. We
were, indeed, beyond the sanctuaries of society, and severed from the
kind pulsations of friendship; but the spirit of the Red Man, wild
and careless as the storms he buffets, began to come over us; and we
shouldered our rifles and galloped away for a deer in the lines of
timber that threaded the western horizon. Our first hunt in the depths
of the beautiful and dreadful wilderness! It was attended with no
success, however, but was worth the effort. We had begun to hunt our

In the afternoon of the 4th, our friends returned with the strayed
animals. The keepers immediately fired the signalguns, and all were
soon in camp. Our road on the 5th was through a rich, level prairie,
clothed with the wild grass common to the plains of the West. A skirt
of black oak timber occasionally lined the horizon or strayed up a
deep ravine near the trail. The extreme care of the pioneers in the
{17} overland Santa Fé trade was every where noticeable, in the fact
that the track of their richly-loaded waggons never approached within
musket-shot of these points of timber. Fifteen miles' march brought us
to our place of encampment. A certain portion of the company allotted
to that labour, unpacked the company's mules of the common-stock
property, provisions, ammunitions, &c.; another portion pitched the
tent; another gathered wood and kindled a fire; whilst others brought
water, and still others again put seething-pots and frying-pans to
their appropriate duties. So that at this, as at many a time before
and after, a few minutes transposed our little cavalcade from a moving
troop into an eating, drinking, and joyous camp. A thunder-storm
visited us during the night. The lightning was intensely vivid, and the
explosions were singularly frequent and loud. The sides of the heavens
appeared to war like contending batteries in deadly conflict. The rain
came in floods; and our tent, not being ditched around, was flooded
soon after the commencement of the storm, and ourselves and baggage
thoroughly drenched.

The next day we made about fifteen miles through the mud and rain,
and stopped for {18} the night near a solitary tree upon the bank of
a small tributary of the Konzas river. Here fortune favoured our fast
decreasing larder. One of the company killed a turtle, which furnished
us all with an excellent supper. This was the only description of game
that we had seen since leaving the frontier.

On the 7th, as the sun was setting, we reached Osage River--a stream
which flows into the Missouri below Jefferson City. The point where
we struck it, was one hundred miles south-west of Independence.[33]
We pitched our tent snugly by a copse of wood within a few yards of
it; staked down our animals near at hand, and prepared, and ate in
the usual form, our evening repast. Our company was divided into two
messes, seven in one, and eight in the other. On the ground, each with
a tin pint cup and a small round plate of the same material, the first
filled with coffee, tea, or water, the last with fried bacon and dough
fried in fat; each with a butcher-knife in hand, and each mess sitting,
tailor-like, around its own frying-pan, eating with the appetite of
tigers formed the _coup-d'œil_ of our company at supper on the banks of
the Osage.

{19} Near us were encamped some waggoners on their return to Missouri,
who had been out to Council Grove with the provisions and that part
of the goods of the Santa Fé traders which the teams of untrained
mules had been unable to draw when they left Independence. With these
men we passed a very agreeable evening; they amused us with yarns of
mountain-life, which from time to time had floated in, and formed the
fireside legends of that wild border. In the morning, while we were
saddling our animals, two of the Kauzaus Indians came within a few rods
of our camp,[34] and waited for an invitation to approach. They were
armed with muskets and knives. The manner of carrying their fire-arms
was peculiar, and strongly characteristic of Indian caution. The breech
was held in the right hand, and the barrel rested on the left arm;
thus they are always prepared to fire. They watched us narrowly, as
if to ascertain whether we were friends or foes, and upon our making
signs to them to approach, they took seats near the fire, and with most
imperturbable calmness, commenced smoking the compound of willow-bark
and tobacco with which they are wont to regale themselves. When we
left the ground, one of {20} the men threw away a pair of old boots,
the soles of which were fastened with iron nails. Our savage visitors
seized upon them with the greatest eagerness, and in their pantomimic
language, aided by harsh, guttural grunts, congratulated themselves
upon becoming the possessors of so much wealth. At eight o'clock we
were on march.

The morning breezes were bland, and a thousand young flowers gemmed
the grassy plains. It seemed as if the tints of a brighter sky and
the increasing beauty of the earth were lifting the clouds from the
future, and shedding vigour upon our hopes. But this illusion lasted
but a moment. Three of my valuable men had determined to accompany
the waggoners to the States; and as they filed off and bade adieu to
the enterprise in which they had embarked, and blighted many cheering
expectations of social intercourse along our weary wayfaring to Oregon,
an expression of deep discouragement shaded every face. This was of
short duration. The determination to penetrate the valleys of Oregon
soon swept away every feeling of depression, and two hunters being sent
forward to replenish our larder, we travelled happily onward.

The Osage River at this place is one {21} hundred yards wide, with
about two-and-a-half feet of water. Its banks are clothed with timber
of cotton-wood, ash and hickory. We crossed it at eight o'clock in
the morning, passed through the groves which border it, and continued
to follow the Santa Fé trail. The portion of country over which it
ran was undulating and truly beautiful; the soil rich, very deep, and
intersected by three small streams, which appeared from their courses
to be tributaries of the Osage.

At nightfall, we found ourselves upon a height overlooking a beautiful
grove. This we supposed to be Council Grove. On the swell of the hill
were the remains of an old Kauzaus' encampment; a beautiful clear
spring gushed out from the rock below. The whole was so inviting to
us, weary and hungry as we were, that we determined to make our bed
there for the night. Accordingly, we fired signalguns for the hunters,
pitched our tents, broke up the boughs which had been used by the
Indians in building their wigwams, for fuel, and proceeded to cook our
supper. This encampment had been made by the Kauzaus six years ago,
when on their way south to their annual buffalo-hunt. A semi-circular
piece of ground was enclosed by the outer lodges. {22} The area was
filled with wigwams, built in straight lines, running from the
diameter to the circumference. They were constructed in the following
manner. Boughs of about two inches in diameter were inserted by their
butts into the ground, and withed together at the top in an arched
form; over these were spread blankets, skins of the buffalo, etc. Fires
were built in front of each: the grass beneath, covered with skins,
made a delightful couch, and the Indian's home was complete. Several
yards from the outer semi-circular row of lodges and parallel to it,
we found large stakes driven firmly into the earth, for the purpose of
securing their horses during the night. We appropriated to ourselves,
without hesitation, whatever we found here of earth, wood or water,
which could be useful to us, and were soon very comfortable. About nine
o'clock, our signalguns were answered by the return of our hunters.
They had scoured the country all day in quest of game, but found none.
Our hopes were somewhat depressed by this result. We had but one
hundred pounds of flour and one side of bacon left; and the buffalo,
by the best estimates we could make, were still three hundred miles
distant; the country between {23} us and these animals, too, being
constantly scoured by Indian hunters, afforded us but little prospect
of obtaining other game. However, we did not dwell very minutely
upon the evils that might await us, but having put ourselves upon
short allowance, and looked at our horses as the means of preventing
starvation, we sought rest for the fatigues of the next day's march.

In the morning we moved down the hill. Our way lay directly through
the little grove already referred to; and, however we might have
admired its freshness and beauty, we were deterred from entering into
the full enjoyment of the scene by the necessity, which we supposed
existed, of keeping a sharp look-out among its green recesses for the
lurking savage. The grove is the northern limit of the wanderings
of the Cumanches--a tribe of Indians who make their home on the rich
plains along the western borders of the republic of Texas.[35] Their
ten thousand warriors, their incomparable horsemanship, their terrible
charge, the unequalled rapidity with which they load and discharge
their fire-arms, and their insatiable hatred, make the enmity of these
Indians more dreadful than that of any other tribe of aborigines.
Fortunately for us, however, {24} these Spartans of the plains did not
appear, and right merrily did we cross the little savannah between it
and Council Grove, a beautiful lawn of the wilderness, some of the men
hoping for the sweets of the bee-tree, others for a shot at a turkey
or a deer, and others again that among the drooping boughs and silent
glades might be found the panting loins of a stately elk.

Council Grove derives its name from the practice among the traders,
from the commencement of the overland commerce with the Mexican
dominions, of assembling there for the appointment of officers and
the establishment of rules and regulations to govern their march
through the dangerous country south of it. They first elect their
commander-in-chief.[36] His duty is to appoint subordinate leaders, and
to divide the owners and men into watches, and to assign them their
several hours of duty in guarding the camp during the remainder of
their perilous journey. He also divides the caravan into two parts,
each of which forms a column when on march. In these lines he assigns
each team the place in which it must always be found. Having arranged
these several matters, the council breaks up; and the commander, with
the guard on {25} duty, moves off in advance to select the tract and
anticipate approaching danger.

After this guard the head teams of each column lead off about thirty
feet apart, and the others follow in regular lines, rising and dipping
gloriously; two hundred men, one hundred waggons, eight hundred mules;
shoutings and whippings, and whistlings and cheerings, are all there;
and, amidst them all, the hardy Yankee move happily onward to the
siege of the mines of Montezuma. Several objects are gained by this
arrangement of the waggons. If they are attacked on march by the
Cumanche cavalry or other foes, the leading teams file to the right and
left, and close the front; and the hindermost, by a similar movement,
close the rear; and thus they form an oblong rampart of waggons laden
with cotton goods that effectually shields teams and men from the small
arms of the Indians. The same arrangement is made when they halt for
the night.

Within the area thus formed are put, after they are fed, many of
the more valuable horses and oxen. The remainder of the animals are
'staked'--that is, tied to stakes, at a distance of twenty or thirty
yards, around the line. The ropes by which {26} they are fastened are
from thirty to forty feet in length, and the stakes to which they
are attached are carefully driven, at such distances apart, as shall
prevent their being entangled one with another.

Among these animals the guard on duty is stationed, standing motionless
near them, or crouching so as to discover every moving spot upon the
horizon of night. The reasons assigned for this, are, that a guard
in motion would be discovered and fired upon by the cautious savage
before his presence could be known; and farther, that it is impossible
to discern the approach of an Indian creeping among the grass in the
dark, unless the eye of the observer be so close to the ground as to
bring the whole surface lying within the range of vision between it
and the line of light around the lower edge of the horizon. If the
camp be attacked, the guard fire and retreat to the waggons. The
whole body then take positions for defence; at one time sallying out,
rescue their animals from the grasp of the Indians; and at another,
concealed behind their waggons, load and fire upon the intruders with
all possible skill and rapidity. Many were the bloody battles fought on
the 'trail,' and such were some of the anxieties {27} and dangers that
attended and still attend the 'Santa Fé Trade.' Many are the graves,
along the track, of those who have fallen before the terrible cavalry
of the Cumanches. They slumber alone in this ocean of plains; no
tears bedew their graves; no lament of affection breaks the stillness
of their tomb. The tramp of savage horsemen--the deep bellowing of
the buffalo--the nightly howl of the hungry wolf--the storms that
sweep down at midnight from the groaning caverns of the 'shining
heights;' or, when Nature is in a tender mood, the sweet breeze that
seems to whisper among the wild flowers that nod over his dust in the
spring--say to the dead, "You are alone; no kindred bones moulder at
your side."

We traversed Council Grove with the same caution and in the same manner
as we had the other; a platoon of four persons in advance to mark the
first appearance of an ambuscade; behind these the pack animals and
their drivers; on each side an unincumbered horseman; in the rear a
platoon of four men, all on the look-out, silent, with rifles lying on
the saddles in front, steadily winding along the path that the heavy
waggons of the traders had made among the {28} matted underbrush. In
this manner we marched half a mile, and emerged from the Grove at a
place where the traders had, a few days before, held their council. The
grass in the vicinity had been gnawed to the earth by their numerous
animals; their fires were still smouldering and smoking; and the ruts
in the road were fresh. These indications of our vicinity to the great
body of the traders produced an exhilarating effect on our spirits;
and we drove merrily away along the trail, cheered with renewed hopes
that we should overtake our countrymen, and be saved from starvation.

The grove that we were now leaving was the largest and most beautiful
we had passed since leaving the frontier of the States. The trees,
maple, ash, hickory, black walnut, oaks of several kinds, butternut,
and a great variety of shrubs clothed with the sweet foliage of June--a
pure stream of water murmuring along a gravelly bottom, and the songs
of the robin and thrush, made Council Grove a source of delight to us,
akin to those that warm the hearts of pilgrims in the great deserts
of the East, when they behold, from the hills of scorching sands, the
green thorn-tree, and {29} the waters of the bubbling spring. For we
also were pilgrims in a land destitute of the means of subsistence,
with a morsel only of meat and bread per day, lonely and hungry; and
although we were among the grassy plains instead of a sandy waste,
we had freezing storms, tempests, lightning and hail, which, if not
similar in the means, were certainly equal in the amount of discomfort
they produced, to the sand-storms of the Great Sahara.

But we were leaving the Grove and the protection it might yield to us
in such disagreeable circumstances. On the shrubless plain again! To
our right the prairie rose gradually, and stretched away for ten miles,
forming a beautiful horizon. The whole was covered with a fine coat of
grass a foot in height, which was at this season of the deepest and
richest green. Behind us lay a dark line of timber, reaching from the
Grove far into the eastern limits of sight, till the leafy tops seemed
to wave and mingle among the grass of the wild swelling meadows. The
eyes ached as we endeavoured to embrace the view. A sense of vastness
was the single and sole conception of the mind!

Near this grove are some interesting Indian {30} ruins. They consist of
a collection of dilapidated mounds, seeming to indicate the truth of
the legend of the tribes, which says, that formerly this was the Holy
ground of the nations, where they were accustomed to meet to adjust
their difficulties, exchange the salutations of peace, and cement the
bonds of union with smoking, and dancing, and prayers, to the Great

We had advanced a few miles in the open country when we discovered, on
the summit to the right, a small band of Indians. They proved to be a
party of Caws or Kauzaus. As soon as they discovered our approach, two
of them started in different directions at the top of their speed, to
spread the news of our arrival among the remote members of the party.
The remainder urged on with the utmost velocity their pack-horses
laden with meat, skins, blankets, and other paraphernalia of a hunting
excursion. We pursued our way, making no demonstrations of any kind,
until one old brave left his party, and came towards us, stationing
himself beside our path, and awaiting our near approach. He stood quite
upright and motionless. As we advanced, we noted closely his appearance
{31} and position. He had no clothing, except a blanket tied over
the left shoulder and drawn under the right arm. His head was shaven
entirely bare, with the exception of a tuft of hair about two inches in
width, extending from the center of the occiput over the middle of the
head to the forehead. It was short and coarse, and stood erect, like a
comb of a cock. His figure was the perfection of physical beauty. It
was five feet nine or ten inches in height, and looked the Indian in
every respect. He stood by the road-side, apparently perfectly at ease;
and seemed to regard all surrounding objects, with as much interest as
he did us. This is a distinguishing characteristic of the Indian. If
a thunderbolt could be embodied and put in living form before their
eyes, it would not startle them from their gravity. So stood our savage
friend, to all appearance unaware of our approach. Not a muscle of his
body or face moved, until I rode up and proffered him a friendly hand.
This he seized eagerly and continued to shake it very warmly, uttering
meanwhile with great emphasis and rapidity, the words "How de," "how,"
"how." As soon as one individual had withdrawn his hand from his grasp,
he {32} passed to another, repeating the same process and the same
words. From the careful watch we had kept upon his movements since
he took his station, we had noticed that a very delicate operation
had been performed upon the lock of his gun. Something had been
warily removed therefrom, and slipped into the leathern pouch worn
at his side. We expected, therefore, that the never-failing appeal
to our charity would be made for something; and in this we were not
disappointed. As soon as the greetings were over, he showed us, with
the most solicitous gestures, that his piece had no flint. We furnished
him with one; and he then signified to us that he would like something
to put in the pan and barrel; and having given him something of all, he
departed at the rapid swinging gait so peculiar to his race.

As we advanced, the prairie became more gently undulating. The heaving
ridges which had made our trail thus far appear to pass over an immense
sea, the billows of which had been changed to waving meadows the
instant they had escaped from the embraces of the tempest, gave place
to wide and gentle swells, scarcely perceptible over the increased
expanse in sight. Ten {33} miles on the day's march; the animals were
tugging lustily through the mud, when the advance guard shouted "Elk!
Elk!" and "steaks broiled," and "ribs boiled," and "marrow bones," and
"no more hunger!" "Oregon for ever, starve or live," as an appointed
number of my companions filed off to the chase.

The hunters circled around the point of the sharp ridge on which the
Elk were feeding, in order to bring them between themselves and the
wind; and laying closely to their horses' necks, they rode slowly
and silently up the ravine towards them. While these movements were
making, the cavalcade moved quietly along the trail for the purpose
of diverting the attention of the Elk from the hunters. And thus the
latter were enabled to approach within three hundred yards of the game
before they were discovered. But the instant--that anxious instant to
our gnawing appetites--the instant that they perceived the crouching
forms of their pursuers approaching them, tossing their heads in the
air, and snuffing disdainfully at such attempt to deceive their wakeful
senses, they put hoof to turf in fine style. The hunters attempted
pursuit; but having to ascend one side of the ridge, {34} while the Elk
in their flight descended the other, they were at least four hundred
yards distant, before the first bullet whistled after them. None were
killed. And we were obliged to console our hunger with the hope that
three hunters, who had been despatched ahead this morning, would meet
with more success. We encamped soon after this tourney of ill luck--ate
one of the last morsels of food that remained--pitched our tent,
stationed the night-guard, &c., and, fatigued and famished, stretched
ourselves within it.

On the following day we made twenty-five miles over a prairie nearly
level, and occasionally marshy. In the afternoon we were favoured
with what we had scarcely failed, for a single day, to receive since
the commencement of our journey, viz: all several and singular, the
numerous benefits of a thunder-storm. As we went into camp at night,
the fresh ruts along the trail indicated the near vicinity of some of
the Santa Fé teams. No sleep; spent the night in drying our drenched
bodies and clothes.

On the 12th under weigh very early: and travelled briskly along,
intending to overtake the traders before nightfall. But {35} another
thunder-storm for a while arrested the prosecution of our desires.--It
was about three o'clock when a black cloud arose in the south-east,
another in the south-west, and another in the north-east; and involving
and evolving themselves like those that accompany tornadoes of other
countries, they rose with awful rapidity towards the zenith. Having
mingled their dreadful masses over our heads, for a moment they
struggled so terrifically that the winds appeared hushed at the voice
of their dread artillery--a moment of direful battle; and yet not a
breath of wind. We looked up for the coming catastrophe indicated by
the awful stillness; and beheld the cloud rent in fragments, by the
most terrific explosion of electricity we had ever witnessed. Then,
as if every energy of the destroying elements had been roused by this
mighty effort, peal upon peal of thunder rolled around, and up and down
the heavens; and the burning bolts appeared to leap from cloud to cloud
across the sky, and from heaven to earth, in such fearful rapidity,
that the lurid glare of one had scarcely fallen on the sight, when
another followed of still greater intensity. The senses were absolutely
{36} stunned by the conflict. Our animals, partaking of the stupefying
horror of the scene, madly huddled themselves together and became
immovable. They heeded neither whip nor spur; but with backs to the
tempest drooped their heads, as if awaiting their doom. The hail and
rain came down in torrents. The plains were converted into a sea; the
sky, overflowing with floods, lighted by a continual blaze of electric
fire! It was such a scene as no pen can adequately describe.

After the violence of the storm had in some degree abated, we pursued
our way, weary, cold and hungry. About six o'clock we overtook a
company of Santa Fé traders, commanded by Captain Kelly. The gloom of
the atmosphere was such, that when we approached his camp, Captain
Kelly supposed us to be Indians, and took measures accordingly to
defend himself. Having stationed his twenty-nine men within the
barricade formed by his waggons, he himself, accompanied by a single
man, came out to reconnoitre. He was not less agreeably affected, to
find us whites and friends, than were we at the prospect of society and
food. Traders always carry a supply of wood over these naked plains,
{37} and it may be supposed that, drenched and pelted as we had been
by the storm, we did not hesitate to accept the offer of their fire to
cook our supper, and warm ourselves. But the rain continued to fall
in cold shivering floods; and, fire excepted, we might as well have
been elsewhere as in company with our countrymen, who were as badly
sheltered and fed, as ourselves. We, therefore, cast about for our own
means of comfort. While some were cooking our morsel of supper, others
staked out the animals, others pitched our tent; and all, when their
tasks were done, huddled under its shelter. We now numbered thirteen.

We ate our scanty suppers, drank the water from the puddles, and sought
rest. But all our packs being wet, we had no change of wardrobe, that
would have enabled us to have done so with a hope of success. We,
however, spread our wet blankets upon the mud, put our saddles under
our heads, had a song from our jolly Joe, and mused and shivered until

As the sun of the 13th rose, we drove our animals through Cottonwood
creek.[37] It had been very much swollen by the rains of the previous
day; and our packs {38} and ourselves, were again thoroughly wet. But,
once out of the mire and the dangers of the flood, our hearts beat
merrily as we lessened, step by step, the distance from Oregon.


[23] For a sketch of Independence see Gregg's _Commerce of the
Prairies_, in our volume xix, p. 189, note 34.--ED.

[24] When Jason Lee, the Methodist missionary, went east (1838-39) for
re-inforcements, he took with him two Indian youths to be educated.
Meetings were held in many cities; at Peoria, Illinois, one of the lads
being taken ill, was left behind. His presence continued the interest
aroused by Lee's representations, so that early in 1839 a company
of young men, not one of whom had ever been west of St. Louis, was
organized to undertake the Oregon migration. The party consisted at
first of nineteen persons. See Robert Shortess, "First Emigrants to
Oregon," in Oregon Pioneer Association _Transactions_, 1896.--ED.

[25] For the Mormons in Missouri consult our volume xx, pp. 93-99, with
accompanying notes.--ED.

[26] The governor of Missouri (1836-40) was Lilburn W. Boggs, for whom
see our volume xx, p. 98, note 65.--ED.

[27] Consult the references in our volume xxiv, pp. 119, 120, notes 99,

[28] See a brief sketch of Rigdon in Flagg's _Far West_, our volume
xxvi, p. 358, note 209.--ED.

[29] For the use of this term Indian Territory--which did not at that
time correspond with our present Indian Territory--see Wyeth's _Oregon_
in our volume xxi, p. 50, note 31.--ED.

[30] The Santa Fé route was taken in preference to the Oregon trail
on the advice of Andrew Sublette and Philip Thompson, who had just
returned from the mountains. See Shortess's "Sketch," cited in note 20,

[31] For this stream see James's _Long's Expedition_, in our volume
xiv, p. 184, note 153.--ED.

[32] This is probably the same as Round Grove, for which see Gregg's
_Commerce of the Prairies_, in our volume xix, p. 193, note 35.--ED.

[33] The Osage rises in Kansas south of Kansas River, and as Farnham
states, flows in a general easterly course into the Missouri. The usual
camping place on the Santa Fé trail was about a hundred miles out,
on what was called One Hundred and Ten Mile Creek, indicative of its
distance from Fort Osage.--ED.

[34] For the Kansa, see Bradbury's _Travels_, in our volume v, p. 67,
note 37.--ED.

[35] On the Comanche, see our volume xvi, p. 233, note 109.--ED.

[36] See Gregg's description of this place, and the method of forming a
caravan, in our volume xix, pp. 196-203, with accompanying notes.--ED.

[37] For the Cottonwood see our volume xix, p. 204, note 42. The
crossing was nearly two hundred miles from Independence.--ED.


  Scarcity of Food--An Incident--Looing and Bleating--Messrs.
    Bents--Trade--Little Arkansas--A Nauseous Meal--A Flood--An
    Onset--A Hard Ride--The Deliverance--The Arkansas--An
    Attack--The Similitude of Death--The Feast and a bit of
    Philosophy--The Traders Walworth and Alvarez's Teams--A
    Fright--A Nation of Indians--Their Camp and Hunts--A Treaty--A
    Tempest--Indian Butchering--A Hunt among the Buffalo--A
    Wounded Man--A Drive--A Storm and its Enemy--Night among the
    Buffalo--The Country and the Heavens--The Ford--A Mutiny
    and its Consequences--Blistered Fingers--Liberty--Bent's

Our hunters, who had been despatched from Council Grove in search
of game, had rejoined us in Kelly's camp. And as our larder had not
been improved by the hunt, another party was sent out, under orders
to advance to the buffalo with all possible dispatch, and send back
to the main body a portion of the first meat that should be taken.
This was a day of mud and discomfort. Our pack and riding animals,
constantly annoyed by the slippery clay {40} beneath them, became
restive, and not unfrequently relieved themselves of riders or packs,
with little apparent respect for the wishes of their masters. And yet,
as if a thousand thorns should hatchel out at least one rose, we had
one incident of lively interest. For, while halting to secure the load
of a pack-mule, whose obstinacy would have entitled him to that name,
whatever had been his form, we espied upon the side of a neighbouring
ravine several elk and antelope. The men uttered pleas for their
stomachs at the sight of so much fine meat, and with teeth shut in the
agony of expectation, primed anew their rifles, and rushed away for the

Hope is very delusive, when it hunts elk upon the open plain. This
fact was never more painfully true, than in the present instance. They
were approached against the wind--the ravines that were deepest, and
ran nearest the elk, were traversed in such a manner that the huntsmen
were within three hundred yards of them before they were discovered;
and then never did horses run nearest their topmost speed for a stake
in dollars than did ours for a steak of meat. But, alas! the little
advantage gained at the start, from the bewildered {41} inaction of the
game, began to diminish as soon as those fleet coursers of the prairie
laid their nimble hoofs to the sward, and pledged life upon speed. In
this exigency a few balls were sent whistling after them, but they soon
slept in the earth, instead of the panting hearts they were designed to
render pulseless; and we returned to our lonely and hungry march.

At sunset we encamped on the banks of a branch of the Arkansas.[38]
Our rations were now reduced to one-eighth of a pint of flour to each
man. This, as our custom was, was kneaded with water, and baked or
rather dried in our frying-pan, over a fire sufficiently destitute
of combustibles to have satisfied the most fastidious miser in that
line.--Thus refreshed, and our clothing dried in the wind during the
day, we hugged our rifles to our hearts, and soundly slept.

The sun of the following morning was unusually bright, the sky
cloudless and delightfully blue. These were new pleasures; for the
heavens and the earth had, till that morning, since our departure from
home, scourged us with every discouragement which the laws of matter
could produce. Now all around us smiled. Dame {42} Nature, a prude
though she be, seemed pleased that she had belaboured our courage with
so little success. To add to our joy, a herd of oxen and mules were
feeding and lowing upon the opposite bank of the stream. They belonged
to the Messrs. Bents, who have a trading post upon the Arkansas. One
of the partners and thirty odd men were on their way to St. Louis,
with ten waggons laden with peltries. They were also driving down two
hundred Santa Fé sheep, for the Missouri market. These animals are
usually purchased from the Spaniards; and if the Indians prove far
enough from the track so as to permit the purchaser to drive them
into the States, his investment is unusually profitable. The Indians,
too, residing along the Mexican frontier, not infrequently find it
convenient to steal large numbers of mules, &c., from their no less
swarthy neighbours; and from the ease with which they acquire them,
find themselves able and willing to sell them to traders for a very
easily arranged compensation.

Of these several sources of gain, it would seem the Messrs. Bents[39]
avail themselves; since, on meeting the gentleman in charge of the
waggons before spoken of, he informed {43} us that he had lost thirty
Mexican mules and seven horses; and desired us, as we intended to pass
his post, to recover and take them back. A request of any kind from a
white face in the wilderness is never denied. Accordingly, we agreed to
do as he desired, if within our power.

We made little progress to-day. Our packs, that had been soaked by
storm and stream, required drying, and for that purpose we went early
into camp. The country in which we now were, was by no means sacred to
safety of life, limb or property. The Pawnee and Cumanche war-parties
roam through it during the spring and summer months, for plunder and
scalps. The guards, which we had had on the alert since leaving Council
Grove, were therefore carefully stationed at nightfall among the
animals around the tent, and urged to the most careful watchfulness.
But no foe molested us. In the expressive language of the giant of our
band, prefaced always with an appropriate sigh and arms akimbo, "We
were not murdered yet."

About twelve o'clock of the 14th, we passed the Little Arkansas.[40]
Our hunters had been there the previous night, and had succeeded in
taking a dozen cat-fish. Their {44} own keen hunger had devoured a part
of them without pepper, or salt, or bread, or vegetable. The remainder
we found attached to a bush in the stream, in an unwholesome state of
decomposition. They were, however, taken up and examined by the senses
of sight and smell alternately; and viewed and smelt again in reference
to our ravenous palates; and although some doubt may have existed in
regard to the Hebrew principle of devouring so unclean a thing, our
appetites allowed of no demur. We roasted and ate, as our companions
had done.

I had an opportunity at this place to observe the great extent of the
rise and fall of these streams of the plains in a single day or night.
It would readily be presumed, by those who have a correct idea of the
floods of water that the thunder-storms of this region pour upon the
rolling prairies, that a few miles of the channels of a number of the
creeks over which the storms pass may be filled to the brim in an hour;
and that there are phenomena of floods and falls of water occurring
in this vast den of tempests, such as are found nowhere else. Still,
bearing this evidently true explanation in mind, it was with some
{45} difficulty that I yielded to the evidences on the banks of the
Little Arkansas, that that stream had fallen fifteen feet during the
last twelve hours. It was still too deep for the safety of the pack
animals to attempt to ford it in the usual way. The banks, also, at the
fording-place were left by the retiring flood, a quagmire; so soft,
that a horse without burthen could, with the greatest difficulty, drag
himself through it to the water below. In our extremity, however, we
tied our lashing-lines together, and, attaching one end to a strong
stake on the side we occupied, sent the other across the stream, and
tied it firmly to a tree. Our baggage, saddles and clothing suspended
to hooks running to and fro on this line, were securely passed over.
The horses being then driven across at the ill-omened ford, and
ourselves over by swimming and other means, we saddled and loaded our
animals with their several burthens, and recommenced our march.

The 14th, 15th, and 16th, were days of more than ordinary hardships.
With barely food enough to support life, drenched daily by
thunder-storms and by swimming and fording the numerous drains of
this alluvial {46} region, and wearied by the continual packing and
unpacking of our animals, and enfeebled by the dampness of my couch at
night, I was so much reduced when I dismounted from my horse on the
evening of the 16th, that I was unable to loosen the girth of my saddle
or spread my blanket for repose.

The soil thus far from the frontier appeared to be from three to six
feet in depth; generally undulating, and occasionally, far on the
western horizon, broken into ragged and picturesque bluffs. Between the
swells, we occasionally met small tracts of marshy ground saturated
with brackish water.

On the night of the 16th, near the hour of eight o'clock, we were
suddenly roused by the rapid trampling of animals near our camp.
"Indians!" was the cry of the guard, "Indians!" We had expected an
encounter with them as we approached the buffalo, and were consequently
not unprepared for it. Each man seized his rifle, and was instantly
in position to give the intruders a proper reception. On they came,
rushing furiously in a dense column till within thirty yards of our
tent; and then wheeling short to the left, abruptly halted. {47} Not a
rifle-ball or an arrow had yet cleft the air. Nor was it so necessary
that they should; for we discovered that, instead of bipeds of bloody
memory, they were the quadrupeds that had eloped from the fatherly care
of Mr. Bent, making a call of ceremony upon their compatriot mules,
&c., tied to stakes within our camp.

17th. We were on the trail at seven o'clock. The sun of a fine morning
shone upon our ranks of beasts and men. Were I able to sketch the
woe-shrivelled visages of my starving men, with occasional bursts of
wrath upon Mr. Bent's mules as they displayed their ungrateful heels
to us, who had restored them from the indecencies of savage life to
the dominion of civilized beings, my readers would say that the sun
never looked upon a more determined disregard of the usages of social
life. A long march before us--the Arkansas and its fish before us, the
buffalo with all the delicate bits of tender loin and marrow bones,
(even the remembrance of them inspires me)--with all these before us,
who that has the sympathies of the palate sensibilities within him, can
suppose that we did not use the spur, whip and goad with a right good
will on that memorable day? {48} Thirty or forty miles, none but the
vexed plains can tell which, were travelled over by one o'clock. The
afternoon hours, too, were counted slowly. High bluffs, and butes, and
rolls, and salt marshes alternately appearing and falling behind us,
with here and there a plat of the thick short grass of the upper plains
and the stray bunches of the branching columnar and foliated prickly
pear, indicated that we were approaching some more important course of
the mountain waters than we had yet seen since leaving the majestic
Missouri. "On, merrily on," rang from our parched and hungry mouths;
and if the cheerful shout did not allay our appetites or thirst, it
quickened the pace of our mules, and satisfied each other of our
determined purpose to behold the Arkansas by the light of that day.

During the hurried drive of the afternoon we became separated from one
another among the swells over which our track ran. Two of the advanced
platoon took the liberty, in the absence of their commander, to give
chace to an antelope which seemed to tantalize their forbearance by
exhibiting his fine sirloins to their view. Never did men better earn
forgiveness for disobedience of orders. One of them crept as I {49}
learned half a mile upon his hands and knees to get within rifle shot
of his game;--shot at three hundred yards' distance and brought him
down! And now, who, in the tameness of an enough-and-to-spare state of
existence, in which every emotion of the mind is surfeited and gouty,
can estimate our pleasure at seeing these men gallop into our ranks
with this antelope? You may "guess," reader, you may "reckon," you
may "calculate," or if learned in the demi-semi-quavers of modern
exquisiteness, you may thrust rudely aside all these wholesome and fat
old words of the heart, and "shrewdly imagine," and still you cannot
comprehend the feelings of that moment! Did we shout? were we silent?
no, neither. Did we gather quickly around the horse which bore the
slaughtered animal? No, nor this. An involuntary murmur of relief from
the most fearful forebodings, and the sudden halt of the riding animals
in their tracks were the only movements, the only acts that indicated
our grateful joy at this deliverance.

Our intention of seeing the Arkansas that night, however, soon banished
every other thought from the mind. Whips and spurs therefore were
freely used upon our animals {50} as they ascended tediously a long
roll of prairies covered with the wild grasses and stinted stalks of
the sun-flower. We rightly conceived this to be the bordering ridge
of the valley of the Arkansas. For on attaining its summit we saw ten
miles of that stream lying in the sunset like a beautiful lake among
the windings of the hills. It was six miles distant--the sun was
setting. The road lay over sharp rolls of land that rendered it nearly
impossible for us to keep our jaded animals on a trot. But the sweet
water of that American Nile, and a copse of timber upon its banks that
offered us the means of cooking the antelope to satisfy our intolerable
hunger, gave us new energy; and on we went at a rapid pace while
sufficient light remained to show us the trail.[41]

When within about a mile and a half of the river a most annoying
circumstance crossed our path. A swarm of the most gigantic and
persevering musquitoes that ever gathered tribute from human kind,
lighted on us and demanded blood. Not in the least scrupulous as to the
manner in which they urged their claims, they fixed themselves boldly
and without ceremony upon our organs of sight, smell, and whipping,
{51} in such numbers, that in consequence of the employment they gave
us in keeping them at the distance, and the pain which they inflicted
upon our restive animals, we lost the trail. And now came quagmires,
flounderings, and mud, such as would have taught the most hardened
rebel in morals that deviations from the path of duty lead sometimes to
pain, sometimes to swamps. Long perseverance at length enabled us to
reach the great "River of the Plains."

We tarried for a moment upon the banks of the stream and cast about
to extricate ourselves from the Egyptian plagues around us. To regain
our track in the darkness of night, now mingled with a dense fog, was
no easy task. We, however, took the lead of a swell of land that ran
across it, and in thirty minutes entered a path so well marked that we
could tread our way onward till we should find wood sufficient to cook
our supper. This was a dreary ride. The stars gave a little light among
the mist, which enabled us to discern, on the even line of the horizon,
a small speck that after three hours' travel we found to be a small
grove of cotton wood upon an island. We encamped near it; and after
our baggage was piled up so {52} as to form a circle of breastworks
for defence, our weariness was such that we sank among it supperless,
and slept with nothing but the heavens over us. And although we were
in the range of the Cumanche hunting as well as war-parties, the guard
slept in spite of the savage eyes that might be gloating vengeance on
our little band. No fear or war-whoop could have broken the slumbers
of that night. It was a temporary death. Nature had made its extreme
effort, and sunk in helplessness till its ebbing energies should reflow.

On the morning of the 18th of June we were up early--early around among
our animals to pull up the stakes to which they were tied, and drive
them fast again, where they might graze while we should eat. Then
to the care of ourselves. We wrestled manfully with the frying-pan
and roasting-stick; and anon in the very manner that one sublime act
always follows its predecessor, tore bone from bone the antelope ribs,
with so strong a grip and with such unrestrained delight that a truly
philosophic observer might have discovered in the flash of our eyes
and the quick energetic motion of the nether portions of our {53}
physiognomies, that eating, though an uncommon, was nevertheless our
favourite occupation.--Then "catch up," "saddles on," "packs on,"
"mount," "march," were heard on all sides, and we were on the route,
hurry-scurry, with forty loose mules and horses leering, kicking and
braying, and some six or eight pack animals making every honourable
effort to free themselves from servitude, while we were applying to
their heads and ears certain gentle intimations that such ambitious
views accorded not with their master's wishes.

In the course of the day we crossed several tributaries of the
Arkansas. At one of these, called by the traders Big Turkey Creek,[42]
we were forced to resort again to our Chilian bridge. In consequence
of the spongy nature of the soil and the scarcity of timber, we here
found more difficulty in procuring fastenings for our ropes, than
in any previous instance. At length, however, we obtained pieces of
flood-wood, and drove them into the soft banks "at an inclination,"
said he of the axe, "of precisely 45° to the plane of the horizon."
Thus supported, the stakes stood sufficiently firm for our purposes;
{54} and our bags, packs, selves, and beasts were over in a trice, and
in the half of that mathematical fraction of time, we were repacked,
remounted, and trotting off at a generous pace, up the Arkansas. The
river appeared quite unlike the streams of the East, and South, and
Southwest portion of the States in all its qualities. Its banks were
low--one and a half feet above the medium stage of water, composed of
an alluvium of sand and loam as hard as a public highway, and generally
covered with a species of wiry grass that seldom grows to more than one
and a half or two inches in height. The sun-flower of stinted growth,
and a lonely bush of willow, or an ill-shaped sapless, cotton-wood
tree, whose decayed trunk trembled under the weight of years, together
with occasional bluffs of clay and sand-stone, formed the only
alleviating features of the landscape. The stream itself was generally
three-quarters of a mile in width, with a current of five miles per
hour, water three and a half to four feet, and of a chalky whiteness.
It was extremely sweet, so delicious that some of my men declared it an
excellent substitute for milk.

{55} Camped on the bank of the river where the common tall grass of
the prairie grew plentifully; posted our night-guard, and made a part
of our meat into soup for supper. I will here give a description of
the manner of making this soup. It was indeed a rare dish; and my
friends of the trencher--ye who have been spiced, and peppered, and
salted, from your youth up, do not sneer when I declare that of all
the innovations upon kitchen science which civilization has engrafted
upon the good old style of the patriarchs, nothing has produced so
depraving an effect upon taste, as these self-same condiments of salt,
pepper, &c. But to our soup. It was made of simple meat and water--of
pure water, such as kings drank from the streams of the good old
land of pyramids and flies, and of the wild meat of the wilderness,
untainted with any of the aforesaid condiments--simply boiled, and
then eaten with strong, durable iron spoons and butcher-knives. Here
I cannot restrain from penning one strong and irrepressible emotion
that I well remember to have experienced while stretched upon my couch
after our repast. The exceeding comfort of body and mind {56} at that
moment undoubtedly gave it being. It was an emotion of condolence
for those of my fellow mortals who are engaged in the manufacture of
rheumatisms and gout. Could they only for an hour enter the portals
of prairie life--for one hour breathe the inspiration of a hunter's
transcendentalism--for one hour feed upon the milk and honey and
marrow of life's pure unpeppered and unsalted viands, how soon would
they forsake that ignoble employment--how soon would their hissing and
vulgar laboratories of disease and graves be forsaken, and the crutch
and Brandreth's pills be gathered to the tombs of our fathers!

Our next day's march terminated in an encampment with the hunters whom
I had sent forward for game. They had fared even worse than ourselves.
Four of the seven days they had been absent from the company, and had
been without food. Many of the streams, too, that were forded easily
by us, were, when they passed, wide and angry floods. These they were
obliged to swim, to the great danger of their lives.

On the 18th, however, they overtook Messrs. Walworth and Alvarez's
teams,[43] {57} and were treated with great hospitality by those
gentlemen. On the same day they killed a buffalo bull, pulled off
the flesh from the back, and commenced drying it over a slow fire
preparatory to packing. On the morning of the 19th, two of them started
off for us with some strips of meat dangling over the shoulders of
their horses. They met us about four o'clock, and with us returned to
the place of drying the meat. Our horses were turned loose to eat the
dry grass, while we feasted ourselves upon roasted tongue and liver.
After this we "caught up" and went on with the intention of encamping
with the Santa Féäns; after travelling briskly onward for two hours, we
came upon the brow of a hill that overlooks the valley of Pawnee Fork,
the largest branch of the Arkansas on its northern side. The Santa
Fé traders had encamped on the east bank of the stream. The waggons
surrounded an oval piece of ground, their shafts or tongues outside,
and the forward wheel of each abreast of the hind wheel of the one
before it. This arrangement gave them a fine aspect, when viewed from
the hill, over which we were passing.

But we had scarcely time to see the {58} little I described, when a
terrific scream of "Pawnee! Pawnee!" arose from a thousand tongues
on the farther bank of the river; and Indian women and children ran
and shrieked horribly, "Pawnee! Pawnee!" as they sought the glens and
bushes of the neighbourhood. We were puzzled to know the object of
such an outburst of savage delight, as we deemed it to be, and for a
time thought that we might well expect our blood to slumber with the
buffalo, whose bones lay bleaching around us. The camp of the traders
also was in motion; arms were seized and horses saddled with "hot
haste." A moment more, and two whites were galloping warily near us;
a moment more brought twenty savage warriors in full paint and plume
around us. A quick reconnoitre, and the principal chief rode briskly
up to me, shook me warmly by the hand, and with a clearly apparent
friendship said "Sacre fœdus" (holy league,) "Kauzaus," "Caw." His
warriors followed his example. As soon as our friendly greetings were
discovered by some of the minor chiefs, they galloped their fleet
horses at full speed over the river, and the women and children issued
from their concealments, and lined the bank with their dusky forms. The
chiefs rode {59} with us to our camping ground, and remained till dark,
examining with great interest the various articles of our travelling
equipage; and particularly our tent as it unfolded its broadsides like
magic, and assumed the form of a solid white cone. Every arrangement
being made to prevent these accomplished thieves from stealing our
horses, &c., we supped, and went to make calls upon our neighbours.

The owners of the Santa Fé waggons were men who had seen much of life.
Urbane and hospitable, they received us in the kindest manner, and
gave us much information in regard to the mountains, the best mode of
defence, &c., that proved in our experience remarkably correct. During
the afternoon, the chiefs of the Kauzaus sent me a number of buffalo
tongues, and other choice bits of meat. But the filth discoverable on
their persons generally deterred us from using them. For this they
cared little. If their presents were accepted, an obligation was by
their laws incurred on our part, from which we could only be relieved
by presents in return. To this rule of Indian etiquette we submitted;
and a council was accordingly held between myself and the principal
chief through an interpreter, {60} to determine upon the amount and
quality of my indebtedness in this regard. The final arrangement was,
that in consideration of the small amount of property I had then in
possession, I would give him two pounds of tobacco, a side-knife, and
a few papers of vermillion; but that, on my return, which would be in
fourteen months, I should be very rich, and give him more. To all these
obligations and pleasant prophecies, I of course gave my most hearty

The Caws, or Kauzaus, are notorious thieves. We therefore put out
a double guard at night, to watch their predatory operations, with
instructions to fire upon them, if they attempted to take our animals.
Neither guard nor instructions, however, proved of use; for the
tempest, which the experienced old Santa Féäns had seen in the heavens,
thunder-cloud in the north-west at sunset, proved a more efficient
protection than the arm of man. The cloud rose slowly during the early
part of the night, and appeared to hang in suspense of executing its
awful purpose. The lightning and heavy rumbling of the thunder were
frightful. It came to the zenith about twelve o'clock. When in that
position, the cloud covered one-half the heavens, and for {61} some
minutes was nearly stationary. After this, the wind broke forth upon
it at the horizon, and rolled up the dark masses over our heads--now
swelling, now rending to shreds its immense folds. But as yet not a
breath of air moved over the plains. The animals stood motionless and
silent at the spectacle. The nucleus of electricity was at the zenith,
and thence large bolts at last leaped in every direction, and lighted
for an instant the earth and skies so intensely, that the eye could not
endure the brightness. The report which followed was appalling. The
ground trembled--the horses and mules shook with fear, and attempted
to escape. But where could they or ourselves have found shelter? The
clouds at the next moment appeared in the wildest commotion, struggling
with the wind. "Where shall we fly?" could scarcely have been spoken,
before the wind struck our tent, tore the stakes from the ground,
snapped the centre pole, and buried us in its enraged folds. Every man,
we were thirteen in number, immediately seized some portion and held it
with all his might. Our opinion at the time was, that the absence of
the weight of a single man would have given the storm the victory--our
tent would have eloped in the {62} iron embraces of the tempest. We
attempted to fit it up again after the violence of the storm had in
some degree passed over, but were unable so to do. The remainder of the
night was consequently spent in gathering up our loose animals, and in
shivering under the cold peltings of the rain.

The Santa Féäns, when on march through these plains, are in constant
expectation of these tornadoes. Accordingly, when the sky at night
indicates their approach, they chain the wheels of adjacent waggons
strongly together to prevent them from being upset--an accident that
has often happened, when this precaution was not taken. It may well
be conceived, too, that to prevent their goods from being wet in
such cases, requires a covering of no ordinary powers of protection.
Bows in the usual form, except that they are higher, are raised over
long sunken Pennsylvania waggons, over which are spread two or three
thicknesses of woollen blankets; and over these, and extended to the
lower edge of the body, is drawn a strong canvas covering, well guarded
with cords and leather straps. Through this covering these tempests
seldom penetrate.

At seven o'clock on the morning of the 27th, "Catch up, catch up," rang
round {63} the waggons of the Santa Féäns. Immediately each man had his
hand upon a horse or mule; and ere we, in attempting to follow their
example, had our horses by the halter, the teams were harnessed and
ready for the "march." A noble sight those teams were, about forty in
number, their immense waggons still unmoved, forming an oval breastwork
of wealth, girded by an impatient mass of near four hundred mules,
harnessed and ready to move again along their solitary way. But the
interest of the scene was much increased when, at the call of the
commander, the two lines, team after team, straightened themselves into
the trail, and rode majestically away over the undulating plain. We
crossed the Pawnee Fork,[44] and visited the Caw Camp. Their wigwams
were constructed of bushes inserted into the ground, twisted together
at the top, and covered with the buffalo hides which they had been
gathering for their winter lodges. Meat was drying in every direction.
It had been cut in long narrow strips, wound around sticks standing
upright in the ground, or laid over a rick of wicker-work, under which
slow fires are kept burning. The stench, and the squalid appearance
of the women and children, {64} were not sufficiently interesting
to detain us long; and we travelled on for the buffalo which were
bellowing over the hills in advance of us. There appeared to be about
one thousand five hundred souls, almost in a state of nudity, and
filthy as swine. They make a yearly hunt to this region in the spring,
lay in a large quantity of dried meat, return to their own territory
in harvest time, gather their beans and corn, make the buffalo hides,
(taken before the hair is long enough for robes), into conical tents,
and thus prepare for a long and merry winter.

They take with them, on these hunting excursions, all the horses and
mules belonging to the tribe, which can be spared from the labour
of their fields upon the Konzas River, go south till they meet the
buffalo, build their distant wigwams, and commence their labour. This
is divided in the following manner between the males, females, and
children:--The men kill the game. The women dress and dry the meat, and
tan the hides. The instruments used in killing vary with the rank and
wealth of each individual. The high chief has a lance, with a handle
six feet and blade three feet in length. This in hand, mounted {65}
upon a fleet horse, he rides boldly to the side of the flying buffalo,
and thrusts it again and again through the liver or heart of one, and
then another of the affrighted herd till his horse is no longer able to
keep near them. He is thus able to kill five or six, more or less, at
a single hit. Some of the inferior chiefs also have these lances; but
they must all be shorter than that of his Royal Darkness. The common
Indians use muskets and pistols. Rifles are an abomination to them.
The twisting motion of the ball as it enters, the sharp crack when
discharged, and the direful singing of the lead as it cuts the air,
are considered symptoms of witchcraft that are unsafe for the Red Man
to meddle with. They call them medicines--inscrutable and irresistible
sources of evil. The poorer classes still use the bow and arrow. Nor is
this, in the well-trained hand of the Indian, a less effective weapon
than those already mentioned. Astride a good horse, beside a bellowing
band of wild beef, leaning forward upon the neck, and drawing his limbs
close to the sides of his horse, the naked hunter uses his national
weapon with astonishing dexterity and success. Not unfrequently, when
hitting no bones, does he throw his arrows quite through the buffalo.
Twenty {66} or thirty thus variously armed, advance upon a herd. The
chief leads the chase, and by the time they come alongside the band,
the different speed of the horses has brought them into a single file
or line. Thus they run until every individual has a buffalo at his
side. Then the whole line fire guns, throw arrows or drive lances, as
often and as long as the speed of the horses will allow; and seldom
do they fail in encounters of this kind, to lay upon the dusty plain
numbers of these noble animals.

A cloud of squaws who had been hovering in the neighbourhood, now
hurry up, astride of pack-animals, strip off hides, cut off the best
flesh, load their pack saddles, mount themselves on the top, and move
slowly away to the camp. The lords of creation have finished their
day's labour. The _ladies_ cure the meat in the manner described above,
stretch the hides upon the ground, and with a blunt wooden adze hew
them into leather. The younger shoots of the tribe during the day are
engaged in watering and guarding the horses and mules that have been
used in the hunt--changing their stakes from one spot to another of
fresh grass, and crouching along the heights around the camp to notice
the approach of {67} foes, and sound the alarm. Thus the Konzas,
Kausaus, or Caws, lay in their annual stores. Unless driven from their
game by the Pawnees, or some other tribe at enmity with them, they
load every animal with meat and hides about the first of August, and
commence the march back to their fields, fathers, and wigwams, on the
Konzas River.

This return-march must present a most interesting scene in savage
life--seven hundred or eight hundred horses or mules loaded with the
spoils of the chase, and the children of the tribe holding on to the
pack with might and main, naked as eels, and shining with buffalo
grease, their fathers and mothers loafing on foot behind, with their
guns poised on the left arm, or their bows and arrows swung at their
back ready for action, and turning their heads rapidly and anxiously
for lurking enemies--the attack, the screams of women and children,
each man seizing an animal for a breastwork, and surrounding thus their
wives and children, the firing, the dying, the conquest, the whoop of
victory and rejoicings of one party, and the dogged, sullen submission
of the other--all this and more has occurred a thousand times upon {68}
these plains, and is still occurring. But if victory declare for the
Caws, or they march to their home without molestation, how many warm
affections spring up in their untamed bosoms, as they see again their
parents and children, and the ripened harvest, the woods, the streams,
and bubbling springs, among which the gleeful days of childhood were
spent! And when greetings are over, and welcomes are said, embraces
exchanged, and their homes seen and smiled upon; in fine, when all the
holy feelings of remembrance, and their present good fortune, find
vent in the wild night-dance, who, that wears a white skin and ponders
upon the better lot of civilized men, will not believe that the Indian
too, returned from the hunt and from war, has not as much happiness,
if not in kind the same, and as many sentiments that do honour to our
nature, as are wrapped in the stays and tights of a fantastic, mawkish
civilization--that flattering, pluming, gormandizing, unthinking,
gilded life, which is beginning to measure mental and moral worth by
the amount of wealth possessed, and the adornment of a slip or pew in

We travelled eight miles and encamped. {69} A band of buffalo cows
were near us. In other words, we were determined upon a hunt--a
determination the consequences of which, as will hereafter appear were
highly disastrous. Our tent having been pitched, and baggage piled up,
the fleetest horses selected, and the best marksmen best mounted, we
trotted slowly along a circling depression of the plain, that wound
around near the herd on the leeward side. When we emerged in sight of
them, we put the horses into a slow gallop till within three hundred
yards of our game; and then for the nimblest heel! Each was at his
utmost speed. We all gained upon the herd. But two of the horses were
by the side of the lubbers before the rest were within rifle-reach;
and the rifles and pistols of their riders discharged into the sleek,
well-larded body of a noble bull. The wounded animal did not drop; the
balls had entered neither liver nor heart; and away he ran for his
life. But his unwieldy form moved slower and slower, as the dripping
blood oozed from the bullet-holes in his loins. He ran towards our
tent; and we followed him in that direction, till within a fourth
of a mile of it, when our heroes of the rifle laid him wallowing in
his blood, a mountain of flesh {70} weighing at least three thousand
pounds. We butchered him in the following manner: Having turned him
upon his brisket, split the skin above the spine, and pared it off as
far down the sides as his position would allow, we cut off the flesh
that lay outside the ribs as far back as the loins. This the hunters
call "the fleece." We next took the ribs that rise perpendicularly from
the spine between the shoulders, and support what is termed the "hump."
Then we laid our heavy wood-axes upon the enormous side-ribs, opened a
cavity, and took out the tender-loins, tallow, &c.,--all this a load
for two mules to carry into camp.

It was prepared for packing as follows: the fleece was cut across the
grain into slices an eighth of an inch in thickness, and spread upon
a scaffolding of poles, and dried and smoked over a slow fire. While
we were engaged in this process, information came that three of Mr.
Bent's mules had escaped. The probability was that they had gone to the
guardianship of our neighbours, the Caws. This was a misfortune to our
honourable intention of restoring them to their lawful owners. Search
was immediately ordered in the Indian camp and elsewhere for them. It
was {71} fruitless. The men returned with no very favourable account of
their reception by the Caws, and were of opinion that farther search
would be in vain. Being disposed to try my influence with the principal
chief, I gave orders to raise the camp and follow the Santa Féans,
without reference to my return, and mounting my horse, in company with
three men, sought his lodge. The wigwams were deserted, save by a few
old women and squalid children, who were wallowing in dirt and grease,
and regaling themselves upon the roasted intestines of the buffalo. I
inquired for the chiefs, for the mules, whether they themselves were
human or bestial; for, on this point, there was room for doubt: to all
which inquiries, they gave an appropriate grunt. But no chief or other
person could be found, on whom any responsibility could be thrown in
regard to the lost mules. And after climbing the heights to view the
plains, and riding from band to band of His Darkness's quadrupeds for
three hours in vain, we returned to our camp sufficiently vexed for all
purposes of comfort.

Yet this was only the beginning of the misfortunes of the day. During
my absence, one of those petty bickerings, so common {72} among men
released from the restraints of society and law, had arisen between two
of the most quarrelsome of the company, terminating in the accidental
wounding of one of them. It occurred, as I learned in the following
manner: a dispute arose between the parties as to their relative moral
honesty in some matter, thing, or act in the past. And as this was a
question of great perplexity in their own minds, and doubt in those
of others, words ran high and abusive, till some of the men, more
regardful of their duty than these warriors, began preparations to
strike the tent. The redoubtable combatants were within it; and as
the cords were loosed, and its folds began to swing upon the centre
pole, the younger of the braves, filled with wrath at his opponent,
attempted to show how terrible his ire would be if once let loose among
his muscles. For this purpose, it would seem he seized the muzzle of
his rifle with every demonstration of might, &c., and attempted to
drag it from among the baggage. The hammer of the lock caught, and
sent the contents of the barrel into his side. Every thing was done
for the wounded man that his condition required, and our circumstances
permitted. Doctor Walworth, {73} of the Santa Fé caravan, then eight
miles in advance, returned, examined, and dressed the wound, and
furnished a carriage for the invalid. During the afternoon the high
chief of the Caws also visited us; and by introducing discoloured water
into the upper orifice, and watching its progress through, ascertained
that the ball had not entered the cavity. But notwithstanding that
our anxieties about the life of Smith[45] were much lessened by the
assurances of Dr. Walworth, and our friend the Chief, yet we had
others of no less urgent nature, on which we were called to act. We
were on the hunting-ground of the Caws. They were thieves; and after
the Santa Fé traders should have left the neighbourhood, they would
without scruple use their superior force in appropriating to themselves
our animals, and other means of continuing our journey. The Pawnees,
too, were daily expected. The Cumanches were prowling about the
neighbourhood. To remain, therefore, in our present encampment, until
Smith could travel without pain and danger, was deemed certain death
to all. To travel on in a manner as comfortable to the invalid, as our
{74} condition would permit--painful to him and tedious to us though
it should be--appeared therefore the only means of safety to all, or
any of us. We accordingly covered the bottom of the carriole with grass
and blankets, laid Smith upon them, and with other blankets bolstered
him in such manner that the jolting of the carriage would not roll him.
Other arrangements necessary to raising camp being made, I gave the
company in charge of my lieutenant; and ordering him to lead on after
me as fast as possible, took the reins of the carriage and drove slowly
along the trail of the Santa Féäns.

The trail was continually crossed by deep paths made by the buffalo,
as a thousand generations of them had in single file followed their
leaders from point to point through the plains. These, and other
obstructions, jolted the carriage at every step, and caused the wounded
man to groan pitiably. I drove on till the stars indicated the hour of
midnight; and had hoped by this time to have overtaken the traders,
but was disappointed. In vain I looked through the darkness for the
white embankment of their waggons. The soil over which they had passed
was {75} now so hard, that the man in advance of the carriage could no
longer find the trail; and another storm was crowding its dark pall up
the western sky. The thunder aroused and enraged the buffalo bulls.
They pawed the earth and bellowed, and gathered around the carriage
madly, as if they considered it a huge animal of their own species,
uttering thunder in defiance of them. It became dangerous to move. It
was useless also; for the darkness thickened so rapidly that we could
not keep the track. My men, too, had not come up; they had doubtless
lost the trail--or, if not, might join me if I waited there till the
morning. I therefore halted in a deep ravine, which would partially
protect me from the maddened buffalo and the storm, tied down my
animals head to foot, and sought rest. Smith was in great pain. His
groans were sufficient to prevent sleep. But had he been comfortable
and silent, the storm poured such torrents of rain and hail, with
terrible wind and lightning, around us, that life instead of repose
became the object of our solicitude. The horseman who had accompanied
me, had spread his blankets on the ground under the carriage, and, {76}
with his head upon his saddle, attempted to disregard the tempest as
an old-fashioned stoic would the toothache. But it beat too heavy for
his philosophy. His Mackinaw blankets and slouched hat, for a time
protected his ungainly body from the effects of the tumbling flood.
But when the water began to stream through the bottom of the carriage
upon him, the ire of the animal burst from his lank cheeks like the
coming of a rival tempest. He cursed his stars, and the stars behind
the storm, his garters, and the garters of some female progenitor,
consigned to purgatory the thunder, lightning, and rain, and waggon,
alias poor Smith; and gathering up the shambling timbers of his mortal
frame, raised them bolt upright in the storm, and thus stood, quoted
Shakspeare, and ground his teeth till daylight.

As soon as day dawned I found the trail again, and at seven o'clock
overtook the Santa Féäns. Having changed Smith's bedding, I drove on
in the somewhat beaten track that forty odd waggons made. Still every
small jolt caused the unfortunate man to scream with pain. The face
of the country around Pawnee Fork was, when we saw it, {77} a picture
of beauty. The stream winds silently among bluffs covered with woods,
while from an occasional ravine, long groves stretch out at right
angles with its main course into the bosom of the plains. The thousand
hills that swelled on the horizon, were covered with dark masses of
buffalo peacefully grazing, or quenching their thirst at the sweet
streams among them. But the scene had now changed. No timber, not a
shrub was seen to-day. The soft rich soil had given place to one of
flint and sand, as hard as M'Adam's pavements; the green, tall prairie
grass, to a dry, wiry species, two inches in height. The water, too,
disgusting remembrance! There was none, save what we scooped from the
puddles, thick and yellow with buffalo offal.

We travelled fifteen miles, and halted for the night. Smith was
extremely unwell. His wound was much inflamed and painful. Dr. Walworth
dressed it, and encouraged me to suppose that no danger of life was to
be apprehended. My company joined me at twelve o'clock, on the 22nd,
and we followed in the rear of the cavalcade. After supper was over,
and Smith made comfortable, {78} I sought from some of them a relation
of their fortunes during the past night. It appeared they had found
the buffalo troublesome as soon as night came on; that the bands of
bulls not unfrequently advanced in great numbers within a few feet
of them, pawing and bellowing in the most threatening manner; that
they also lost the trail after midnight, and spent the remainder of
the night in firing upon the buffalo, to keep them from running over
them. Their situation was dangerous in the extreme; for when buffalo
become enraged, or frightened in any considerable number, and commence
running, the whole herd start simultaneously, and pursue nearly a
right-line course, regardless of obstacles. So that, had they been
frightened by the Santa Féäns, or myself, or any other cause, in the
direction of my companions, they must have trampled them to death. The
danger to be apprehended from such an event, was rendered certain in
the morning, when we perceived that the whole circle of vision was one
black mass of these animals. What a sea of life--of muscular power--of
animal appetite--of bestial enjoyment! And if lashed to rage by some
pervading cause, how fearful {79} the ebbing and flowing of its mighty

On the 23rd the buffalo were more numerous than ever. They were
arranged in long lines from the eastern to the western horizon. The
bulls were forty or fifty yards in advance of the bands of cows to
which they severally intended to give protection. And as the moving
embankment of waggons, led by the advanced guard, and flanked by
horsemen riding slowly from front to rear, and guarded in the rear by
my men, made its majestic way along, these fiery cavaliers would march
each to his own band of dames and misses, with an air that seemed to
say "we are here;" and then back again to their lines, with great
apparent satisfaction, that they were able to do battle for their sweet
ones and their native plains. We travelled fifteen or sixteen miles;
distance usually made in a day by the traders. Smith's wound was more
inflamed and painful; the wash and salve of the Indian chief, however,
kept it soft, and prevented to a great extent the natural inflammation
of the case.

The face of the country was still an arid plain--the water as on the
22nd--fuel, dried {80} buffalo offal--not a shrub of any kind in sight.
Another storm occurred to-night. Its movements were more rapid than
that of any preceding one which we had experienced. In a few moments
after it showed its dark outline above the earth, it rolled its pall
over the whole sky, as if to build a wall of wrath between us and the
mercies of heaven. The flash of the lightning, as it bounded upon the
firmament, and mingled its thunder with the blast, that came groaning
down from the mountains; the masses of inky darkness crowding in wild
tumult along, as if anxious to lead the leaping bolt upon us--the wild
world of buffalo, bellowing and starting in myriads, as the drapery of
this funeral scene of nature, a vast cavern of fire was lighted up; the
rain roaring and foaming like a cataract--all this, a reeling world
tottering under the great arm of its Maker, no eye could see and be
unblenched; no mind conceive, and keep its clayey tenement erect.

I drew the carriole in which Smith and myself were attempting to sleep,
close to the Santa Fé waggons, secured the curtains as firmly as I was
able to do, spread blankets over the top and around the sides, and
{81} lashed them firmly with ropes passing over, under, and around the
carriage in every direction; but to little use. The penetrating powers
of that storm were not resisted by such means. Again we were thoroughly
drenched. The men in the tent fared still worse than ourselves. It was
blown down with the first blast; and the poor fellows were obliged to
lie closely and hold on strongly to prevent it and themselves from a
flight less safe than parachuting.

On the morning of the 24th, having given Smith in charge of my
excellent Lieutenant, with assurance that I would join him at the
"Crossings," I left them with the traders, and started with the
remainder of my company for the Arkansas.

The buffalo during the last three days had covered the whole country so
completely, that it appeared oftentimes extremely dangerous even for
the immense cavalcade of the Santa Fé traders to attempt to break its
way through them. We travelled at the rate of fifteen miles a day. The
length of sight on either side of the trail, 15 miles; on both sides,
30 miles:--15×3=45×30=1,350 square miles of {82} country, so thickly
covered with these noble animals, that when viewed from a height, it
scarcely afforded a sight of a square league of its surface. What a
quantity of food for the sustenance of the Indian and the white pilgrim
of these plains! It would have been gratifying to have seen the beam
kick over the immense frames of some of those bulls. But all that any
of us could do, was to 'guess' or 'reckon' their weight, and contend
about the indubitable certainty of our several suppositions. In these
disputes, two butchers took the lead; and the substance of their
discussions that could interest the reader is, "that many of the large
bulls would weigh 3,000 pounds and upwards; and that, as a general
rule, the buffalo were much larger and heavier than the domesticated
cattle of the States." We were in view of the Arkansas at four o'clock,
P. M. The face of the earth was visible again; for the buffalo were
now seen in small herds only, fording the river, or feeding upon the
bluffs. Near nightfall we killed a young bull, and went into camp for
the night.

On the 25th we moved slowly along up the bank of the river. Having
travelled {83} ten miles, one of the men shot an antelope, and we went
into camp, to avoid if possible another storm that was lowering upon
us from the north-west; but in spite of this precaution, we were again
most uncomfortably drenched.

On the 26th we struck across a southern bend in the river, and
made the Santa Fé "Crossings" at four o'clock, P. M.; 27th. we lay
at the "Crossings," waiting for the Santa Féäns, and our wounded
companion.[46] On this day a mutiny, which had been ripening ever
since Smith was wounded, assumed a clear aspect. It now appeared that
certain individuals of my company had determined to leave Smith to
perish in the encampment where he was shot; but failing in supporters
of so barbarous a proposition, they now endeavoured to accomplish
their design by less objectionable means. They said it was evident, if
Smith remained in the company, it must be divided; for that they, pure
creatures, could no longer associate with so impure a man. And that,
in order to preserve the unity of the company, they would propose that
arrangements should be made with the Santa Féäns to take him along
with them. {84} In this wish a majority of the company, induced by a
laudable desire for peace, and the preservation of our small force
entire, in a country filled with Indian foes, readily united. I was
desired to make the arrangement; but my efforts proved fruitless. The
traders were of the opinion that it would be hazardous for Smith,
destitute of the means of support, to trust himself among a people of
whose language he was ignorant, and among whom he could consequently
get no employment; farther, that Smith had a right to expect protection
from his comrades; and they would not, by any act of theirs, relieve
them from so sacred a duty. I reported to my company this reply, and
dwelt at length upon the reasons assigned by the traders.

The mutineers were highly displeased with the strong condemnation
contained in them, of their intention to desert him; and boldly
proposed to leave Smith in the carriole, and secretly depart for the
mountains. Had we done this inhuman act, I have no doubt that he would
have been treated with great humanity and kindness, till he should have
recovered from his wound. But the meanness of the proposition to leave
a sick companion {85} on the hands of those who had shown us unbounded
kindness, and in violation of the solemn agreement we had all entered
into on the frontier of Missouri--"to protect each other to the last
extremity"--was so manifest, as to cause C. Wood, Jourdan, Oakley,
J. Wood, and Blair, to take open and strong grounds against it. They
declared, that "however unworthy Smith might be, we could neither leave
him to be eaten by wolves, nor to the mercy of strangers; and that
neither should be done while they had life to prevent it."

Having thus ascertained that I could rely upon the cooperation of
these men, two of the company made a litter, on which the unfortunate
man might be borne between two mules. In the afternoon of the 28th, I
went down to the traders, five miles below us, to bring him up to my
camp. The traders generously refused to receive anything for the use
of their carriage, and furnished Smith, when he left them, with every
little comfort in their power for his future use. It was past sunset
when we left their camp. Deep darkness soon set in, and we lost our
course among the winding bluffs. {86} But as I had reason to suppose
that my presence in the camp the next morning with Smith was necessary
to his welfare, I drove on till three o'clock in the morning. It was
of no avail: the darkness hid heaven and earth from view. We therefore
halted, tied the mules to the wheels of the carriage, and waited for
the sight of morning. When it came, we found that we had travelled
during the night at one time up and at another time down the stream,
and were then within a mile and a half of the trader's camp.

On reaching my encampment, I found every thing ready for marching,
sent back the carriole to its owners, and attempted to swing Smith in
his litter for the march; but to our great disappointment, it would
not answer the purpose. How it was possible to convey him, appeared
an inquiry of the most painful importance. We deliberated long; but
an impossibility barred every attempt to remove its difficulties. We
had no carriage; we could not carry him upon our shoulders; it seemed
impossible for him to ride on horseback; the mutineers were mounted;
the company was afraid to stay longer in the vicinity of the Cumanche
Indians, {87} with so many animals to tempt them to take our lives; the
Santa Fé waggons were moving over the hills ten miles away on the other
side of the river; I had adjured the command, and had no control over
the movements of the company; two of the individuals who had declared
for mercy towards Smith had gone with the traders;[47] there was but
one course left--one effort that could be made; he must attempt to ride
an easy, gentle mule. If that failed, those who had befriended him
would not then forsake him.

About eleven o'clock, therefore, on the 29th, Smith being carefully
mounted on a pacing mule, our faces were turned to Bent's trading post,
one hundred and sixty miles up the Arkansas. One of the principal
mutineers, a hard-faced villain of no honest memory among the traders
upon the Platte, assumed to guide and command. His malice towards Smith
was of the bitterest character, and he had an opportunity now of making
it felt. With a grin upon his long and withered physiognomy, that
shadowed out the fiendish delight of a heart long incapable of better
emotions, he drove off at a rate which none but a man in health could
have long endured. His motive {88} for this was easily understood. If
we fell behind, he would get rid of the wounded man, whose presence
seemed to be a living evidence of his murderous intentions, thwarted
and cast back blistering upon his already sufficiently foul character.
He would, also, if rid of those persons who had devoted themselves to
saving him, be able to induce a large number of the remainder of the
company to put themselves under his especial guardianship in their
journey through the mountains; and if we should be destroyed by the
Cumanche Indians who were prowling around our way, the blackness of his
heart might be hidden, awhile at least, from the world.

The rapid riding, and the extreme warmth, well-nigh prostrated the
remaining strength of the invalid. He fainted once, and had nearly
fallen headlong to the ground; but all this was delight to the
self-constituted leader; and on he drove, belabouring his own horse
unmercifully to keep up the pace; and quoting Richard's soliloquy with
a satisfaction and emphasis, which seemed to say "the winter" of _his_
discontent had passed away, as well as that of his ancient prototype in

{89} The buffalo were seldom seen during the day: the herds now
becoming fewer and smaller. Some of the men, when it was near night,
gave chase to a small band near the track, and succeeded in killing a
young bull. A fine fresh steak, and night's rest, cheered the invalid
for the fatigues of a long ride the following day. And a long one it
was. Twenty-five miles under a burning sun, with a high fever, and
three broken ribs, required the greatest attention from his friends,
and the exertion of the utmost remaining energies of the unfortunate
man. Base though he was in everything that makes a man estimable and
valuable to himself and others, Smith was really an object of pity and
the most assiduous care. His couch was spread--his cup of water fresh
from the stream, was always by his side--and his food prepared in the
most palatable manner which our circumstances permitted. Everything
indeed that his friends (no, not his friends, for he was incapacitated
to attach either the good or the bad to his person, but those who
commiserated his condition), could do, was done to make him comfortable.

In connexion with this kindness bestowed {90} on Smith, should be
repeated the name of Blair, an old mechanic from Missouri, who joined
my company at the Crossings of the Arkansas. A man of a kinder heart
never existed. From the place where he joined us to Oregon Territory,
when I or others were worn with fatigue, or disease, or starvation, he
was always ready to administer whatever relief was in his power. But
towards Smith in his helpless condition he was especially obliging. He
dressed his wound daily. He slept near him at night, and rose to supply
his least want. And in all the trying difficulties that occurred along
our perilous journey, it was his greatest delight to diffuse peace,
comfort, and contentment, to the extent of his influence. I can never
forget the good old man. He had been cheated out of his property by a
near relative of pretended piety, and had left the chosen scenes of
his toils and hopes in search of a residence in the wilderness beyond
the mountains. For the purpose of getting to the Oregon Territory,
he had hired himself to a gentleman of the traders' caravan, with
the intention of going to the country by the way of New Mexico and
California. An honest man--an honourable {91} man--a benevolent, kind,
sympathizing friend--he deserves well of those who may have the good
fortune to become acquainted with his unpretending worth.[48]

On the 30th, twenty-five miles up the river.--This morning the
miscreant who acted as leader exchanged horses, that he might render it
more difficult for Smith to keep in company. During the entire day's
march, Shakspeare was on the tapis. If there be ears of him about the
ugly world, to hear his name bandied by boobies, and his immortal verse
mangled by barbarians in civilized clothing, those ears stood erect,
and his dust crawled with indignation, as this savage in nature and
practice discharged from his polluted mouth the inspirations of his

The face of the country was such as that found ever since we struck
the river. Long sweeping bluffs swelled away from the water's edge
into the boundless plains. The soil was a composition of sand, clay,
and gravel--the only vegetation--the short furzy grass, several kinds
of prickly pear, a stinted growth of sun-flower, and a few decrepid
cotton-wood trees on the margin of the stream. The south side of the
river {92} was blackened by the noisy buffalo. It was amusing when our
trail led us near the bank, to observe the rising wrath of the bulls.
They would walk with a stately tread upon the verge of the bank, at
times almost yelling out their rage, and trampling, pawing, falling
upon their knees, and tearing the earth with their horns; till, as if
unable to keep down the safety-valve of their courage any longer, they
would tumble into the stream, and thunder, and wade, and swim, and whip
the waters with their tails, and thus throw off a quantity of their
bravery. But, like the wrath and courage of certain members of the
biped race, these manifestations were not bullet proof, for the crack
of a rifle, and the snug fit of a bullet about their ribs operated
instantaneously as an anodyne to all such like nervous excitation.

We pitched our tent at night near the river. There was no timber near;
but after a long and tedious search we gathered fire-wood enough to
make our evening fire.

The fast riding of the day had wearied Smith exceedingly. An hour's
rest in camp however, had restored him, to such an extent, {93} that
our anxiety as to his ability to ride to Bent's was much diminished.
His noble mule proved too nimble and easy to gratify the malice of the
vagabond leader. The night brought us its usual tribute--a storm. It
was as severe as any we had experienced. If we may distinguish between
the severities of these awful tumults of nature, the thunder was
heavier, deeper. The wind also was very severe. It came in long gusts,
loaded with large drops of rain, which struck through the canvas of our
tent, as if it had been gauze.

The last day of June gave us a lovely morning. The grass looked green
upon the flinty plains. Nor did the apparent fact that they were
doomed to the constant recurrence of long draughts take from them some
of the interest which gathers around the hills and dales within the
lines of the States. There is indeed a wide difference in the outline
of the surface and the productions of these regions. In the plains
are none of the evergreen ridges, the cold clear springs, and snug
flowering valleys of New England; none of the pulse of busy men that
beats from the Atlantic through the great body of human industry to
the western border of the {94} republic; none of the sweet villages
and homes of the old Saxon race; but there are the vast savannahs,
resembling molten seas of emerald sparkling with flowers, arrested
while stormy and heaving, and fixed in eternal repose. Nor are lowing
herds to be found there, and bleating flocks, which dependance on man
has rendered subservient to his will; but there are thousands of fleet
and silent antelope, myriads of the bellowing buffalo, the perpetual
patrimony of the wild, uncultivated red man. And however other races
may prefer the haunts of their childhood, the well-fenced domain and
the stall-pampered beast--still, even they cannot fail to perceive the
same fitness of things in the beautiful adaptation of these conditions
of nature to the wants and pleasures of her uncultivated lords.

We made fifteen miles on the 1st of July. The bluffs along the river
began now to be striped with strata of lime and sand-stone. No trees
that could claim the denomination of timber appeared in sight. Willows
of various kinds, a cotton-wood tree, at intervals of miles, were all;
and so utterly sterile was the whole country that, as night approached,
we were obliged carefully to search along {95} the river's bends for a
plat of grass of sufficient size to feed our animals. Our encampment
was twelve miles above Choteau's Island.[49] Here was repeated, for
the twentieth time, the quarrel about the relative and moral merits
of the company. This was always a question of deep interest with the
mutineers; and many were the amusing arguments adduced and insisted
upon as incontestible, to prove themselves great men, pure men, and
saints. But as there was much difference of opinion, I shall not be
expected to remember all the important judgments rendered in the

If, however, my recollection serves me, it was adjudged, that our
distinguished leader was the only man among us that ever saw the
plains or mountains, the only one of us that ever drove an ox-waggon
up the Platte, stole a horse and rifle from his employers, opened
and plundered a "cache" of goods, and ran back to the States with
well-founded pretensions to an "honest character."

Matters of this kind being thus satisfactorily settled, we gave
ourselves to the musquitoes for the night. These companions of our
sleeping hours were much attached to us--an amiable quality which {96}
"runs in the blood;" and not unlike the birthright virtues of another
race in its effect upon our happiness.

It can scarcely be imparting information to my readers to say that
we passed a sleepless night. But it is due to the guards outside the
tent, to remark, that each and every one of them manifested the most
praiseworthy vigilance, and industry, during the entire night. So keen
a sense of duty did musquito beaks impart.

The next day we travelled twelve miles, and fell in with a band of
buffalo. There being a quantity of wood near at hand wherewithal to
cure meat, we determined to dry, in this place, what might be needed,
till we should fall in with buffalo again beyond the hunting-grounds of
the Messrs. Bents. Some of the men, for this purpose, filed off to the
game, while the remainder formed the encampment. The chase was spirited
and long. They succeeded, however, in bringing down two noble bullocks:
and led their horses in, loaded with the choicest meat.

In preparing and jerking our meat, our man of the stolen rifle here
assumed extraordinary powers in the management of {97} affairs. Like
other braves, arm in hand, he recounted the exploits of his past life,
consisting of the entertainment of serious _intentions_ to have killed
some of the men who had left, had they remained with us; and also,
of _how dangerous his wrath would have been_ in the settlements and
elsewhere, had any indignity been offered to his honourable person,
or his plantation; of which latter he held the fee simple title of a
"squatter." On this point, "let any man, or Government even," said he,
"attempt to deprive me of my inborn rights, and my rifle shall be the
judge between us. Government and laws! what are they but impositions
upon the freeman." With this ebullition of wrath at the possibility
that the institutions of society might demand of him a rifle, or the
Government a price of a portion of the public lands in his possession,
he appeared satisfied that he had convinced us of his moral acumen, and
sat himself down, with his well-fed and corpulent coadjutor, to slice
the meat for drying. While thus engaged, he again raised the voice of
wisdom. "These democratic parties for the plains, what are they? what
is equality any where? A fudge. One must {98} rule; the rest obey, and
no grumbling, by G----!"

The mutineers were vastly edified by these timely instructions; and
the man of parts ceasing to speak, directed his attention to drying
the meat. He, however, soon broke forth again, found fault with every
arrangement which had been made, and with his own mighty arm wrought
the changes he desired.

Meanwhile, he was rousing the fire, already burning fiercely, to more
and more activity, till the dropping grease blazed, and our scaffold of
meat was wrapped in flames.

"Take that meat off," roared he. No one obeyed, and he stood still.
"Take that meat off," he cried again, with the emphasis and mien of
an Emperor; not deigning himself to soil his rags, by obeying his own
command. No one obeyed. The meat burned rapidly. His ire waxed high;
yet, no one was so much frightened as to heed his command. At length
his sublime forbearance had an end. The great man seized the blazing
meat, dashed it upon the ground, raised the temperature of his fingers
to the blistering point, and rested from his labours.

{99} Three days more fatiguing travel along the bank of the Arkansas
brought us to the trading-post of the Messrs. Bents. It was about two
o'clock in the afternoon of the 5th of July, when we came in sight
of its noble battlements, and struck our caravan into a lively pace
down the swell of the neighbouring plain. The stray mules that we had
in charge belonging to the Bents, scented their old grazing ground,
and galloped cheerfully onward. And our hearts, relieved from the
anxieties which had made our camp for weeks past a travelling Babel,
leaped for joy as the gates of the fort were thrown open; and "welcome
to Fort William"--the hearty welcome of fellow-countrymen in the wild
wilderness, greeted us. Peace again--roofs again--safety again from the
winged arrows of the savage; relief again from the depraved suggestions
of inhumanity; bread, ah! bread again: and a prospect of a delightful
tramp over the snowy heights between me and Oregon, with a few men of
true and generous spirit, were some of the many sources of pleasure
which struggled with my slumbers on the first night's tarry among the
hospitalities of "Fort William."[50]

{100} My company was to disband here; the property held in common to
be divided; and each individual to be left to his own resources. And
while these and other things are being done, the reader will allow me
to introduce him to the Great Prairie Wilderness, and the beings and
matters therein contained.


[38] Turkey Creek, for which see our volume xix, p. 205, note 44.--ED.

[39] Silas Bent of St. Louis (1768-1827), judge of the superior court
of the territory and prominent at the bar, had seven sons. The third,
John (1803-45), remained in St. Louis, was admitted to the bar, and
held the office of district attorney. The others went out upon the
frontier. In 1826 William W., Charles, Robert, and George formed a
partnership with Ceran St. Vrain and built a picket fort high up on
the Arkansas. The following year they removed somewhat farther east,
and built an adobe. William W. Bent was the chief founder of the
enterprise. A daring Indian fighter, tradition describes his defeat of
two hundred savages after a three days' battle. He married a Cheyenne
woman, and made his home at Bent's Fort. In 1847-48 he acted as guide
for the American army against New Mexico, whence his title of colonel.
For one year (1859) he served as Indian agent, and died at his home in
Colorado, May 19, 1869. Robert and George both died young, about the
year 1841. They were buried near the fort, their remains afterwards
being removed to St. Louis. For Charles Bent, who made his home at
Taos, see our volume xix, p. 221, note 55.--ED.

[40] Concerning the crossing of the Little Arkansas, consult our volume
xix, p. 207, note 45.--ED.

[41] The trail reached the Arkansas in the neighborhood of the northern
reach of the Great Bend; but Farnham's party must have wandered from
the regular route, in order to employ three days and a half from
the crossing of the Little Arkansas--a distance of not more than
thirty-five miles.--ED.

[42] Either Walnut or Ash Creek, the only two tributaries before
reaching Pawnee Fork. Farnham seems, however, to have written from
memory, and possibly confuses this stream with Turkey Creek, an
affluent of the Little Arkansas. See _ante_, p. 70, note 34.--ED.

[43] For Manuel Alvarez see our volume xx, p. 26, note 5.--ED.

[44] For Pawnee Fork see our volume xvi, p. 227, note 105.--ED.

[45] Sidney W. Smith, who afterwards reached Oregon in a destitute
condition, was cared for at Dr. Whitman's mission, and went on to the
Willamette where he settled with Ewing Young. He acquired considerable
property, and was influential in the establishment of the provisional
government, serving as its secretary, as captain of militia, and on
the first provisional committee. He acquired the name of "Blubbermouth
Smith" among the early pioneers, but became a man of sterling ability
and founder of a prominent Oregon family.--ED.

[46] For the Crossings see our volume xix, p. 218, note 54. The trading
caravans proceeded by the Cimarron route, while Farnham's party took
the mountain trail.--ED.

[47] From the later narrative it is apparent that these were Chauncey
Wood and Quinn Jordan.--ED.

[48] W. Blair was a millwright, and upon reaching Oregon found
employment in Spaulding's mill at the Lapwai mission. Afterwards he
went to the Willamette, and finally emigrated to California, where he

[49] For Chouteau's Island see our volume xix, p. 185, note 26.--ED.

[50] For a brief history of this post see our volume xx, p. 138, note
92; see also _post_, chapter iv. A cut of the fort may be seen in J.
T. Hughes, _Doniphan's Expedition_ (Cincinnati, 1847), p. 35. Frémont
visited there in 1844 and speaks of the hospitable treatment accorded
him. In the palmy days of the fur-trade the Bents employed from eighty
to a hundred men who made their headquarters at this post.--ED.


  The Great Prairie Wilderness--Its
    Rivers and Soil--Its People and their
    and Kaskaskias--Ottowas--Shawnees or
    and Foxes--Iowas--Otoes--Omehas--Puncahs--Pawnees,
    remnants--Knistineaux--Naudowisses or Sioux--Chippeways, and
    their traditions.

The tract of country to which I have thought it fitting to apply the
name of the "Great Prairie Wilderness," embraces the territory lying
between the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri, and the Upper
Mississippi on the east, and the Black Hills, and the eastern range of
the Rocky and the Cordilleras mountains on the west. One thousand miles
of longitude, and two thousand miles of latitude, 2,000,000 square
miles, equal to 1,280,000,000 acres of an almost unbroken plain! The
sublime Prairie Wilderness!

The portion of this vast region, two {102} hundred miles in width,
along the coast of Texas and the frontier of the States of Louisiana,
Arkansas, and Missouri, and that lying within the same distance of
the Upper Mississippi in the Iowa Territory, possess a rich, deep,
alluvial soil, capable of producing the most abundant crops of grains,
vegetables, &c., that grow in such latitudes.

Another portion lying west of the irregular western line of that just
described, five hundred miles in width, extending from the mouth of
St. Peter's River to the Rio del Norte, is an almost unbroken plain,
destitute of trees, except here and there one scattered at intervals
for many miles along the banks of the streams. The soil, except the
intervals of some of the rivers, is composed of coarse sand and clay,
so thin and hard that it is difficult for travellers to penetrate
it with the stakes they carry with them wherewithal to fasten their
animals or spread their tents. Nevertheless it is covered thickly with
an extremely nutritious grass peculiar to this region of country, the
blades of which are wiry and about two inches in height.

The remainder of this Great Wilderness, lying three hundred miles in
width along {103} the eastern radices of the Black Hills and that part
of the Rocky Mountains between the Platte and the Cordilleras-range
east of the Rio del Norte, is the arid waste usually called the "Great
American Desert."[51] Its soil is composed of dark gravel mixed with
the sand. Some small portions of it, on the banks of the streams, are
covered with tall prairie and bunch grass; others, with wild wormwood;
but even these kinds of vegetation decrease and finally disappear
as you approach the mountains. It is a scene of desolation scarcely
equalled on the continent, when viewed in the dearth of midsummer from
the base of the hills. Above, rise in sublime confusion, mass upon
mass, shattered cliffs through which is struggling the dark foliage of
stinted shrub-cedars; while below you spreads far and wide the burnt
and arid desert, whose solemn silence is seldom broken by the tread of
any other animal than the wolf or the starved and thirsty horse which
bears the traveller across its wastes.

The principal streams that intersect the Great Prairie wilderness are
the Colorado, the Brazos, Trinity, Red, Arkansas, Great Platte and the
Missouri. The latter is in many respects a noble stream; not so {104}
much so indeed for the intercourse it opens between the States and
the plains, as the theatre of agriculture and the other pursuits of a
densely populated and distant interior; for these plains are too barren
for general cultivation. As a channel for the transportation of heavy
artillery, military stores, troops, &c. to posts that must ultimately
be established along our northern frontier, it will be of the highest

In the months of April, May, and June it is navigable for steamboats
to the Great Falls; but the scarcity of water during the remainder of
the year, as well as the scarcity of wood and coal along its banks, its
steadily rapid current, its tortuous course, its falling banks, timber
imbedded in the mud of its channel, and its constantly shifting sand
bars, will ever prevent its waters from being extensively navigated,
how great soever may be the demand for it. In that part of it which
lies above the mouth of the Little Missouri and the tributaries flowing
into it on either side, are said to be many charming and productive
valleys, separated from each other by secondary rocky ridges sparsely
covered with evergreen trees; and high over all, far in south-west,
west and north-west, tower into {105} view, the ridges of the Rocky
Mountains, whose inexhaustible magazines of ice and snow have, from
age to age, supplied these valleys with refreshing springs--and the
Missouri--the Great Platte--the Columbia--and Western Colorado rivers
with their tribute to the seas.

Lewis and Clark, on their way to Oregon in 1805, made the Portage at
the Great Falls eighteen miles. In this distance the water descends
three hundred and sixty-two feet. The first great pitch is ninety-eight
feet, the second nineteen, the third forty-eight, and the fourth
twenty-six. Smaller rapids make up the remainder of the descent. After
passing over the Portage with their boats and baggage, they again
entrusted themselves to the turbulent stream--entered the chasms of the
Rocky Mountains seventy-one miles above the upper rapids of the Falls,
penetrated them one hundred and eighty miles, with the mere force of
their oars against the current, to Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson's
Forks--and in the same manner ascended Jefferson's River two hundred
and forty-eight miles to the extreme head of navigation, making from
the mouth of the Missouri, whence they started, three thousand and
ninety-six {106} miles; four hundred and twenty-nine of which lay among
the sublime crags and cliffs of the mountains.[52]

The Great Platte has a course by its northern fork of about one
thousand five hundred miles; and by its southern fork somewhat more
than that distance; from its entrance into the Missouri to the junction
of these forks about four hundred miles. The north fork rises in Wind
River Mountain, north of the Great Pass through Long's range of the
Rocky Mountains, in latitude 42° north.[53] The south fork rises one
hundred miles west of James Peak, and within fifteen miles of the
point where the Arkansas escapes from the chasms of the mountains, in
latitude 39° north.[54] This river is not navigable for steamboats
at any season of the year. In the spring floods, the batteaux of the
American fur traders descend it from the forts on its forks. But even
this is so hazardous that they are beginning to prefer taking down
their furs in waggons by the way of the Kansas River to Westport,
Missouri, thence by steamboat to St. Louis. During the summer and
autumn months its waters are too shallow to float a canoe. In the
winter it is bound in ice. Useless as it is for {107} purposes of
navigation, it is destined to be of great value in another respect.

The overland travel from the States to Oregon and California will
find its great highway along its banks. So that in years to come,
when the Federal Government shall take possession of its Territory
West of the Mountains, the banks of this stream will be studded with
fortified posts for the protection of countless caravans of American
citizens emigrating thither to establish their abode; or of those that
are willing to endure or destroy the petty tyranny of the Californian
Government, for a residence in that most beautiful, productive country.
Even now, loaded waggons can pass without serious interruption from
the mouth of the Platte to navigable waters on the Columbia River in
Oregon, and the Bay of San Francisco, in California.[55]

As it may interest my readers to peruse a description of these routes
given me by different individuals who had often travelled them, I will
insert it: "Land on the north side of the mouth of the Platte; follow
up that stream to the Forks, four hundred miles; in this distance only
one stream where a raft will be needed, and that near the Missouri;
all the rest fordable. At the Forks, take the north side of {108} the
North one; fourteen days' travel to the Black Hills; thence leaving the
river's bank, strike off in a North-West direction to the Sweetwater
branch, at "Independence Rock," (a large rock in the plain on which the
old trappers many years ago carved the word "Independence" and their
own names; oval in form;) follow up the sweet-water three days; cross
it and go to its head; eight or ten days travel this; then cross over
westward to the head waters of a small creek running southwardly into
the Platte, thence westward to Big Sandy creek two days, (this creek
is a large stream coming from Wind river Mountains in the North;)
thence one day to Little Sandy creek--thence westward over three or
four creeks to Green River, (Indian name Sheetskadee,) strike it at the
mouth of Horse creek--follow it down three days to Pilot Bute; thence
strike westward one day to Ham's Fork of Green River--two days up Ham's
Fork--thence West one day to Muddy Branch of Great Bear River--down it
one day to Great Bear River--down this four days to Soda Springs; turn
to the right up a valley a quarter of a mile below the Soda Springs;
follow it up a north west direction two days to its head; there take
the left hand valley leading over the dividing {109} ridge; one day
over to the waters of Snake River at Fort Hall;[56] thence down Snake
River twenty days to the junction of the Lewis and Clark Rivers--or
twenty days travel westwardly by the Mary's River--thence through a
natural and easy passage in the California Mountains to the navigable
waters of the San Joaquin--a noble stream emptying into the Bay of San

The Platte therefore when considered in relation to our intercourse
with the habitable countries on the Western Ocean assumes an unequal
importance among the streams of the Great Prairie Wilderness! But
for it, it would be impossible for man or beast to travel those arid
plains, destitute alike, of wood, water and grass, save what of each is
found along its course. Upon the head waters of its North Fork, too,
is the only way or opening in the Rocky mountains at all practicable
for a carriage road through them. That traversed by Lewis and Clark,
is covered with perpetual snow; that near the debouchure of the South
Fork of the river is over high and nearly impassable precipices; that
travelled by myself farther south, is, and ever will be impassable
for wheel carriages. But the Great Gap, nearly {110} on a right line
between the mouth of Missouri and Fort Hall on Clark's River--the point
where the trails to California and Oregon diverge--seems designed by
nature as the great gateway between the nations on the Atlantic and
Pacific seas.[58]

The Red River has a course of about one thousand five hundred miles.
It derives its name from a reddish colour of its water, produced by a
rich red earth or marl in its banks, far up in the Prairie Wilderness.
So abundantly is this mingled with its waters during the spring
freshets, that as the floods retire, they leave upon the lands they
have overflowed a deposit of half an inch in thickness. Three hundred
miles from its mouth commences what is called "The Raft," a covering
formed by drift-wood, which conceals the whole river for an extent
of about forty miles. And so deeply is this immense bridge covered
with the sediment of the stream, that all kinds of vegetable common
in its neighbourhood, even trees of a considerable size, are growing
upon it. The annual inundations are said to be cutting a new channel
near the hill. Steamboats ascend the river to the Raft, and might go
fifty leagues above, if that obstruction were removed.[59] Above this
latter point {111} the river is said to be embarrassed by many rapids,
shallows, falls, and sand-bars. Indeed, for seven hundred miles its
broad bed is represented to be an extensive and perfect sand-bar; or
rather a series of sand-bars; among which during the summer months,
the water stands in ponds. As you approach the mountains, however, it
becomes contracted within narrow limits over a gravelly bottom, and a
swift, clear, and abundant stream. The waters of the Red River are so
brackish when low, as to be unfit for common use.

The Trinity River, the Brazos, and the Rio Colorado, have each a course
of about twelve hundred miles, rising in the plains and mountains on
the north and north-west side of Texas, and running south south-east
into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Rio Bravo del Norte[60] bounds the Great Prairie Wilderness on the
south and south-west. It is one thousand six hundred and fifty miles
long. The extent of its navigation is little known. Lieutenant Pike
remarks in regard to it, that "for the extent of four or five hundred
miles before you arrive near the mountains, the bed of the river is
extensive and a perfect sand-bar, which at a certain season is dry,
at least the waters stand {112} in ponds, not affording sufficient to
procure a running course. When you come nearer the mountains, you find
the river contracted, a gravelly bottom and a deep navigable stream.
From these circumstances it is evident that the sandy soil imbibes all
the waters which the sources project from the mountains, and render
the river in dry seasons _less navigable five hundred miles_, than two
hundred from its source." Perhaps we should understand the Lieutenant
to mean that five hundred miles of sand bar and two hundred miles
immediately below its source being taken from its whole course, the
remainder, nine hundred and fifty miles, would be the length of its
navigable waters.[61]

The Arkansas, after the Missouri, is the most considerable river of
the country under consideration. It takes its rise in that cluster
of secondary mountains which lie at the eastern base of the Anahuac
Ridge, in latitude 41° north--eighty or ninety miles north-west of
James Peak. It runs about two hundred miles--first in a southerly
and then in a south-easterly direction among these mountains; at one
time along the most charming valleys and at another through the most
awful chasms--till it rushes from them with a foaming {113} current in
latitude 39° north. From the place of its debouchure to its entrance
into the Mississippi is a distance of 1981 miles; its total length 2173
miles. About fifty miles below a tributary of this stream, called the
Grand Saline,[62] a series of sand-bars commence and run down the river
several hundred miles. Among them, during the dry season, the water
stands in isolated pools, with no apparent current. But such is the
quantity of water sent down from the mountains by this noble stream
at the time of the annual freshets, that there is sufficient depth,
even upon these bars, to float large and heavy boats; and having once
passed these obstructions, they can be taken up to the place where the
river escapes from the crags of the mountains. Boats intended to ascend
the river, should start from the mouth about the 1st of February. The
Arkansas will be useful in conveying munitions of war to our southern
frontier. In the dry season, the waters of this river are strongly
impregnated with salt and nitre.

There are about 135,000 Indians inhabiting the Great Prairie
Wilderness,[63] of whose social and civil condition, manners and
customs, &c. I will give a brief account. {114} It would seem natural
to commence with those tribes which reside in what is called "The
Indian Territory;" a tract of country bounded south by the Red River,
east by the States of Arkansas and Missouri--on the north-east and
north by the Missouri and Punch Rivers,[64] and west by the western
limit of habitable country on this side of the Rocky Mountains. This
the National Government has purchased of the indigenous tribes at
specific prices; and under treaty stipulations to pay them certain
annuities in cash, and certain others in facilities for learning the
useful arts, and for acquiring that knowledge of all kinds of truth
which will, as is supposed, in the end excite the wants, create the
industry, and confer upon them the happiness of the civilized state.

These benevolent intentions of Government, however, have a still wider
reach. Soon after the English power had been extinguished here, the
enlightened men who had raised over its ruins the temples of equal
justice, began to make efforts to restore to the Indians within the
colonies the few remaining rights that British injustice had left
within their power to return; and so to exchange property with them, as
to {115} secure to the several States the right of sovereignty within
their several limits, and to the Indians, the functions of a sovereign
power, restricted in this, that the tribes should not sell their lands
to other person or body corporate, or civil authority, beside the
Government of the United States; and in some other respects restricted,
so as to preserve peace among the tribes, prevent tyranny, and lead
them to the greatest happiness they are capable of enjoying.[65]

Various and numerous were the efforts made to raise and ameliorate
their condition in their old haunts within the precincts of the
States. But a total or partial failure followed them all. In a few
cases, indeed, there seemed a certain prospect of final success, if
the authorities of the States in which they resided had permitted
them to remain where they were. But as all experience tended to prove
that their proximity to the whites induced among them more vice than
virtue; and as the General Government, before any attempts had been
made to elevate them, had become bound to remove them from {116} many
of the States in which they resided, both the welfare of the Indians,
and the duty of the Government, urged their colonization in a portion
of the western domain, where, freed from all questions of conflicting
sovereignties, and under the protection of the Union, and their own
municipal regulations, they might find a refuge from those influences
which threatened the annihilation of their race.

The "Indian Territory" has been selected for this purpose. And
assuredly if an inexhaustible soil, producing all the necessaries of
life in greater abundance, and with a third less labour than they are
produced in the Atlantic States, with excellent water, fine groves
of timber growing by the streams, rocky cliffs rising at convenient
distances for use among the deep alluvial plains, mines of iron and
lead ore and coal, lakes and springs and streams of salt water, and
innumerable quantities of buffalo ranging through their lands, are
sufficient indications that this country is a suitable dwelling-place
for a race of men which is passing from the savage to the civilized
condition, the Indian Territory has been well chosen as the home
of these unfortunate people. Thither the Government, for the last
thirty years, has been endeavouring {117} to induce those within the
jurisdiction of the States to emigrate.[66]

The Government purchase the land which the emigrating tribes
leave--giving them others within the Territory; transport them to
their new abode; erect a portion of their dwellings; plough and fence
a portion of their fields; furnish them teachers of agriculture, and
implements of husbandry, horses, cattle, &c.; erect schoolhouses,
and support teachers in them the year round; make provision for the
subsistence of those who, by reason of their recent emigration, are
unable to support themselves; and do every other act of benevolence
necessary to put within their ability to enjoy, not only all the
physical comforts that they left behind them, but also every requisite,
facility, and encouragement to become a reasoning, cultivated, and
happy people.

Nor does this spirit of liberality stop here. The great doctrine that
Government is formed to confer upon its subjects a greater degree of
happiness than they could enjoy in the natural state, has suggested
that the system of hereditary chieftaincies, and its dependant evils
among the tribes, should yield, as circumstances may permit, to the
ordination of nature, the supremacy {118} of intellect and virtue.
Accordingly, it is contemplated to use the most efficient means to
abolish them, making the rulers elective, establishing a form of
government in each tribe, similar in department and duties to our State
Governments, and uniting the tribes under a General Government, similar
in powers and functions to that at Washington.[67]

It is encouraging to know that some of the tribes have adopted this
system; and that the Government of the Union has been so far encouraged
to hope for its adoption by all those in the Indian Territory, that in
1837 orders were issued from the Department of Indian affairs, to the
Superintendent of Surveys, to select and report a suitable place for
the Central Government. A selection was accordingly made of a charming
and valuable tract of land on the Osage river, about seven miles
square; which, on account of its equal distance from the northern and
southern line of the Territory, and the beauty and excellence of the
surrounding country, appears in every way adapted to its contemplated
use. It is a little more than sixteen miles from the western line of
Missouri. Any member of those tribes which come into the confederation,
may own property in the district, and no other.[68]

{119} The indigenous, or native tribes of the Indian Territory,
are--the Osages, about 5,510; the Kauzaus or Caws, 1,720; the Omahas,
1,400; the Otoe and Missouri, 1,600; the Pawnee, 10,000; Puncah, 800;
Quapaw, 600--making 21,660. The tribes that have emigrated thither from
the States, are--the Choctaw, 15,600 (this estimate includes 200 white
men, married to Choctaw women, and 600 negro slaves); the Chickasaws,
5,500; the Cherokees, 22,000 (this estimate includes 1,200 negro slaves
owned by them); the Cherokees (including 900 slaves), 22,000; the
Creeks (including 393 negro slaves) 22,500; the Senecas and Shawnees,
461; the Seminoles, 1,600; the Pottawatamies, 1,650; the Weas, 206; the
Piankashas, 157; the Peorias and Kaskaskias, 142; the Ottawas, 240; the
Shawnees, 823; the Delawares, 921; the Kickapoos, 400; the Sauks, 600;
the Iowas, 1,000. It is to be understood that the numbers assigned to
these tribes represent only those portions of them which have actually
removed to the Territory. Large numbers of several tribes are still
within the borders of the States. It appears from the above tables,
then, that 72,200 have had lands assigned them; and, abating the
relative {120} effects of births and deaths among them, in increasing
or diminishing their numbers, are actually residing in the Territory.
These, added to 21,000 of the indigenous tribes, amount to 94,860
under the fostering care of the Federal Government, in a fertile and
delightful country, six hundred miles in length from north to south,
and east and west from the frontier of the Republic to the deserts of
the mountains.

The Choctaw country lies in the extreme south of the Territory. Its
boundaries are--on the south, the Red River, which separates it from
the Republic of Texas; on the west, by that line running from the Red
River to the Arkansas River, which separates the Indian American
Territory from that of Mexico;[69] on the north, by the Arkansas and
the Canadian Rivers; and on the east, by the State of Arkansas. This
tract is capable of producing the most abundant crops, the small
grains, Indian corn, flax, hemp, tobacco, cotton, &c. The western
portion of it is poorly supplied with timber; but all the distance from
the Arkansas' frontier westward, two hundred miles, and extending one
hundred and sixty miles from its northern to its southern boundary, the
country is capable of supporting {121} a population as dense as that of
England. 19,200,000 acres of soil suitable for immediate settlement,
and a third as much more to the westward that would produce the black
locust in ten years after planting, of sufficient size for fencing the
very considerable part of it which is rich enough for agricultural
purposes, will, doubtless, sustain any increased population of this
tribe that can reasonably be looked for during the next five hundred

They have suffered much from sickness incident to settlers in a new
country. But there appear to be no natural causes existing, which,
in the known order of things, will render their location permanently
unhealthy. On the other hand, since they have become somewhat inured
to the change of climate, they are quite as healthy as the whites
near them; and are improving in civilization and comfort; have many
large farms; much live stock, such as horses, mules, cattle, sheep,
and swine; three flouring-mills, two cotton-gins, eighty-eight looms,
and two hundred and twenty spinning-wheels; carts, waggons, and other
farming utensils. Three or four thousand Choctaws have not yet settled
on the lands assigned to them. A part of these are in {122} Texas,
between the rivers Brazos and Trinity, 300 in number, who located
themselves there in the time of the general emigration; and others in
divers places in Texas, who emigrated thither at various times twenty,
thirty, and forty years ago. Still another band continues to reside
east of the Mississippi.

The Choctaw Nation, as the tribe denominates itself, has adopted a
written constitution of Government, similar to the Constitution of
the United States. Their Declaration of Rights secures to all ranks
and sects equal rights, liberty of conscience, and trial by jury,
&c. It may be altered or amended by a National Council. They have
divided their country into four judicial districts. Three of them
annually elect nine, and the other thirteen, members of the National
Assembly. They meet on the first Monday in October annually; organize
by the election of a Speaker, the necessary clerks, a light-horseman
(sergeant-at-arms), and doorkeeper; adopt by-laws, or rules for their
governance, while in session; and make other regulations requisite for
the systematic transaction of business. The journals are kept in the
English language; but in the progress of business are read off {123}
in Choctaw. The preliminary of a law is, "Be it enacted by the General
Council of the Choctaw Nation."

By the Constitution, the Government is composed of four departments,
viz.: Legislative, Executive, Judicial and Military. Three judges
are elected in each district by popular vote, who hold inferior and
superior courts within their respective districts. Ten light-horse men
in each district perform the duties of sheriffs. An act has been passed
for the organization of the militia. Within each judicial district an
officer is elected, denominated a chief, who holds his office for the
term of four years. These chiefs have honorary seats in the National
Council. Their signatures are necessary to the passage of a law. If
they veto an act, it may become a law by the concurrence of two-thirds
of the Council. Thus have the influences of our institutions begun to
tame and change the savages of the western wilderness.[70]

At the time when the lights of religion and science had scarcely begun
to dawn upon them--when they had scarcely discovered the clouds of
ignorance that had walled every avenue to rational life--even while
the dust of antiquated barbarism was {124} still hanging upon their
garments--and the night of ages, of sloth, and sin held them in its
cold embraces--the fires on the towers of this great temple of civil
freedom arrested their slumbering faculties, and they read on all the
holy battlements, written with beams of living light, "All men are, and
of right ought to be, free and equal." This teaching leads them. It was
a pillar of fire moving over the silent grave of the past--enlightening
the vista of coming years--and, by its winning brightness, inviting
them to rear in the Great Prairie wilderness, a sanctuary of republican
liberty--of equal laws--in which to deposit the ark of their own future

The Chickasaws have become merged in the Choctaws. When they sold to
the Government their lands east of the Mississippi, they agreed to
furnish themselves with a home. This they have done in the western
part of the Choctaw country for the sum of £106,000. It is called the
Chickasaw district; and constitutes an integral part of the Choctaw
body politic in every respect, except that the Chickasaws, like the
Choctaws, received and invest for their own sole use, the annuities
and other moneys proceeding from the sale of their lands east of the

{125} The treaty of 1830 provides for keeping forty Choctaw youths at
school, under the direction of the President of the United States, for
the term of twenty years. Also, the sum of £500 is to be applied to the
support of three teachers of schools among them for the same length
of time. There is, also, an unexpended balance of former annuities,
amounting to about £5,000, which is to be applied to the support of
schools, at twelve different places. Schoolhouses have been erected
for this purpose, and paid for, out of this fund. Also, by the treaty
of 1825, they are entitled to an annuity of £1,200, for the support of
schools within the Choctaw district.

The treaty of the 24th of May, 1834, provides that £600 annually, for
fifteen years, shall be applied, under the direction of the Secretary
of War, to the education of the Chickasaws. These people have become
very wealthy, by the cession of their lands east of the Mississippi
to the United States. They have a large fund applicable to various
objects of civilization; £2,000 of which is, for the present, applied
to purposes of education.[72]

The country assigned to the Cherokees is bounded as follows: beginning
on the {126} north bank of Arkansas River, where the western line of
the State of Arkansas crosses the river; thence north 7° 35´ west,
along the line of the State of Arkansas, seventy-seven miles to the
south-west corner of the State of Missouri; thence north along the
line of Missouri, eight miles to Seneca River; thence west along the
southern boundary of the Senecas to Neosho River; thence up said river
to the Osage lands; thence west with the South boundary of the Osage
lands, two hundred and eighty-eight and a half miles; thence south
to the Creek lands, and east along the north line of the creeks, to
a point about forty-three miles west of the State of Arkansas, and
twenty-five miles north of Arkansas River, thence south to Verdigris
River, thence down Verdigris to Arkansas River; thence down Arkansas
River to the mouth of Neosho River; thence South 53° west one mile;
thence south 18° 19´ west thirty-three miles; thence south four miles,
to the junction of the North Fork and Canadian Rivers; thence down the
latter to the Arkansas; and thence down the Arkansas, to the place of

They also own a tract, described, by beginning at the south-east corner
of the Osage lands, and running north with the Osage line, fifty miles;
thence east twenty-five {127} miles to the west line of Missouri;
thence west twenty-five miles, to the place of beginning.

They own numerous Salt Springs, three of which are worked by Cherokees.
The amount of Salt manufactured is probably about 100 bushels per
day. They also own two Lead Mines. Their Salt Works and Lead Mines
are in the Eastern portion of their country. All the settlements yet
formed are there also. It embraces about 2,500,000 acres. They own
about 20,000 head of cattle, 3,000 horses, 15,000 hogs, 600 sheep,
110 waggons, often several ploughs to one farm, several hundred
spinning wheels, and one hundred looms. Their fields are enclosed with
rail fences. They have erected for themselves good log dwellings,
with stone chimneys and plank floors. Their houses are furnished
with plain tables, chairs, and bedsteads, and with table and kitchen
furniture, nearly or quite equal to the dwellings of white people in
new countries.--They have seven native merchants, and one regular
physician, beside several "quacks." Houses of entertainment, with neat
and comfortable accommodation, are found among them.

Their settlements are divided into four districts, each of which
elects for the term {128} of two years, two members of the National
Council--the title of which is, "The General Council of the Cherokee
Nation." By law, it meets annually on the first Monday in October. They
have three chiefs, which till lately have been chosen by the General
Council. Hereafter, they are to be elected by the people. The approval
of the chiefs is necessary to the passage of a law; but an act upon
which they have fixed their veto, may become a law by a vote of two
thirds of the Council. The Council consists of two branches. The lower
is denominated the _Committee_, and the upper, the _Council_. The
concurrence of both is necessary to the passage of a law. The chiefs
may call a Council at pleasure. In this, and in several other respects,
they retain in some degree the authority common to hereditary chiefs.
Two Judges belong to each district, who hold courts when necessary.
Two officers, denominated Light-horsemen, in each district perform
the duties of Sheriffs. A company of six or seven Light-horsemen,
the leader of whom is styled captain, constitute a National Corps of
Regulators, to prevent infractions of the law, and to bring offenders
to justice.[74]

It is stipulated in the treaty of the 6th {129} of May, 1823, that the
United States will pay £400 annually to the Cherokees for ten years,
to be expended under the direction of the President of the United
States, in the education of their children, _in their own country_,
in letters and mechanic arts. Also £200 toward the purchase of a
printing-press and types. By the treaty of December 29, 1835, the sum
of £30,000 is provided for the support of common schools, and such a
literary institution of a higher order as may be established in the
Indian country. The above sum is to be added to an education fund of
£10,000 that previously existed, making the sum of £40,000 which is
to remain a permanent school fund, only the interest of which is to
be consumed. The application of this money is to be directed by the
Cherokee Nation, under the supervision of the President of the United
States. The interest of it will be sufficient constantly to keep in a
boarding-school two hundred children; or eight hundred, if boarded by
their parents.

The country of the Creeks joins Canadian river, and the lands of the
Choctaws on the south, and the Cherokee lands on the east and north.
Their eastern limit is about sixty-two miles from north to south; {130}
their western limit the Mexican boundary.[75]

Their country is fertile, and exhibits a healthy appearance; but of
the latter Creek emigrants who reached Arkansas in the winter and
spring of 1837, about two hundred died on the road; and before the 1st
of October succeeding the arrival, about three thousand five hundred
more fell victims to bilious fevers. In the same year three hundred of
the earlier emigrants died. They own salt springs, cultivate  corn,
vegetables, &c., spin, weave and sew, and follow other pursuits of
civilised people. Many of them have large stocks of cattle. Before the
crops of 1837 had been gathered, they had sold corn to the amount of
upwards of £7,800; and vast quantities still remained unsold. Even the
emigrants who arrived in their country during the winter and spring,
previous to the cropping season of 1837, broke the turf, fenced their
fields, raised their crops for the first time on the soil, and sold
their surplus of corn for £2,000. They have two native merchants.

The civil government of this tribe is less perfect than that of the
Cherokees. There are two bands; the one under McIntosh, the other under
Little Doctor.[76] That led {131} by the former, brought with them from
their old home written laws which they enforce as the laws of their
band. That under the latter, made written laws after their arrival.
Each party holds a general council. The members of each are hereditary
chiefs, and a class of men called councillors. Each of these great
bands is divided into lesser ones; which severally may hold courts, try
civil and criminal causes, sentence, and execute, &c. Laws, however,
are made by the general councils only; and it is becoming customary
to entertain trials of cases before these bodies, and to detail some
of their members for executioners. The legislative, judicial, and
executive departments of their government are thus becoming strangely
united in one.

The treaty of the 6th of March, 1832, stipulates that an annuity of
£600 shall be expended by the United States, under the direction of
the President, for the term of twenty years, in the education of their
children. Another £200 by the treaty of the 14th of February, 1833, is
to be annually expended during the pleasure of Congress for the same
object, under the direction of the President.

In location and government the Seminoles {132} are merged in the
Creeks.[77] In the spring of 1836, about four hundred of them emigrated
from the east, and settled on the north fork of Canadian river. In
October, 1837, they were reduced by sickness nearly one-half. During
these awful times of mortality among them, some of the dead were
deposited in the hollows of the standing and fallen trees, and others,
for want of these, were placed in a temporary inclosure of boards, on
the open plains. Guns and other articles of property were often buried
with the dead, according to ancient custom; and so great is said to
have been the terror of the time, that, having abandoned themselves
awhile to their wailings around the burial-places of their friends,
they fled to the western deserts till the pestilence subsided. Of the
two thousand and twenty-three emigrants who had reached their new
homes prior to October, 1832, not more than one thousand six hundred
remained alive.

The Senecas consist of three bands, namely: Senecas two hundred,
Senecas and Shawanoes two hundred and eleven, Mohawks fifty; in all
four hundred and sixty-one. The lands of the Senecas proper adjoin
those of the Cherokees on the south, {133} and abutting on the Missouri
border, the distance of thirteen miles, extend north to Neosho river.
The lands of the mixed band of Senecas and Shawanoes, extend north
between the State of Missouri and Neosho river, so far as to include
sixty-thousand acres.[78]

These people, also, are in some measure civilized. Most of them speak
English. They have fields inclosed with rail fences, and raise corn and
vegetables sufficient for their own use. They own about eight-hundred
horses, twelve hundred cattle, thirteen yoke of oxen, two hundred hogs,
five waggons, and sixty-seven ploughs; dwell in neat, hewn log cabins
erected by themselves, and furnished with bedsteads, chairs, tables,
&c., of their own manufacture; and own one grist and saw-mill, erected
at the expense of the United States.

The country of the Osages lies north of the western portion of the
Cherokee lands, commencing twenty-five miles west of the State of
Missouri, and thence, in a width of fifty miles, extends westward
as far as the country can be inhabited. In 1817, they numbered ten
thousand five hundred. Wars with the Sioux, and other causes, have left
only five thousand five hundred. {134} About half the tribe reside
on the eastern portion of their lands; the residue in the Cherokee
country, in two villages on Verdigris river.[79]

This tribe has made scarcely any improvement. Their fields are small
and badly fenced. Their huts are constructed of poles inserted in the
ground, bent together at the top, and covered with bark, mats, &c.,
and some of them with buffalo and elk skins. The fire is placed in the
centre, and the smoke escapes through an aperture at the top. These
huts are built in villages, and crowded together without order or
arrangement, and destitute of furniture of any kind, except a platform
raised about two feet upon stakes set in the ground. This extends along
the side of the hut, and may serve for a seat, a table, or a bedstead.
The leggings, and moccasins for the feet, are seldom worn except in
cold weather, or when they are travelling in the grass. These, with a
temporary garment fastened about the loins, and extending downwards,
and a buffalo robe or blanket thrown loosely around them, constitute
the sole wardrobe of the males and married females. The unmarried
females wear also a strip of plain cloth eight or nine inches wide,
which they throw over {135} one shoulder, draw it over the breasts, and
fasten it under the opposite arm.

The Osages were, when the whites first knew them, brave, warlike,
and in the Indian sense of the term, in affluent circumstances. They
were the hardiest and fiercest enemies of the terrible Sioux; but
their independent spirit is gone, and they have degenerated into the
miserable condition of insolent, starving thieves. The government has
been, and is making the most generous efforts to elevate them. The
treaty of 1825 provides, "that the President of the United States
shall employ such persons to aid the Osages in their agricultural
pursuits, as to him may seem expedient." Under this stipulation, £240
annually have been expended, for the last fifteen years. This bounty of
the government, however, has not been of any permanent benefit to the
tribe. The same treaty of 1825, required fifty-four sections of land
to be laid off and sold under the direction of the President of the
United States, and the proceeds to be applied to the education of Osage
children. Early in the year 1838, government made an arrangement by
which they were to be paid two dollars per acre, for the whole tract of
fifty-four sections, {136} 34,560 acres. This commutation has secured
to the Osage tribe, the sum of £13,824 for education; a princely
fund for five thousand five hundred and ten individuals. Government
hereditary chieftaincies.

The band of Quapaws was originally connected with the Osages. Their
lands lie immediately north of the Senecas and Shawanoes, and extend
north between the state of Missouri on the east, and Neosho River
on the west, so far as to include 96,000 acres. Their country is
south-east of, and near to the country of the Osages. Their habits
are somewhat more improved, and their circumstances more comfortable
than those of the last named tribe. They subsist by industry at home,
cultivate fields enclosed with rail fences; and about three-fourths of
them have erected for themselves small log dwellings with chimneys.
Unfortunately for the Quapaws, they settled on the lands of the Senecas
and Shawanoes, from which they must soon remove to their own. A small
band of them, forty or fifty in number, have settled in Texas, and
about thirty others live among the Choctaws.[80]

The Pottawatamies, in emigrating to the west, have unfortunately been
divided into two bands. One thousand or fifteen hundred {137} have
located themselves on the north-east side of the Missouri River, two
hundred and forty miles from the country designated by government
as their permanent residence. Negotiations have been made to effect
their removal to their own lands, but without success. About fifteen
hundred others have settled near the Sauks, on the Mississippi, and
manifest a desire to remain there. The country designated for them lies
on the sources of the Osage and Neosho rivers; it commences sixteen
miles and four chains west of the State of Missouri, and in a width of
twenty-four miles, extends west two hundred miles. By the treaty of
1833, they are allowed the sum of £14,000 for purposes of education
and the encouragement of the useful arts. Also by the same treaty,
is secured to them the sum of £30,000 to be applied in the erection
of mills, farmhouses, Indian houses, and blacksmiths' shops; to the
purchase of agricultural implements and live stock, and for the support
of physicians, millers, farmers, and blacksmiths, which the President
of the United States shall think proper to appoint to their service.[81]

The Weas and Piankashas are bands of Miamis. Their country lies north
of the {138} Pottawatamies, adjoins the State of Missouri on the east,
the Shawanoes on the north, and the Peorias and Kaskaskias on the
west--160,000 acres. These people own a few cattle and swine. About
one-half of their dwellings are constructed of logs, the remainder of
bark, in the old native style. Their fields are enclosed with rails,
and they cultivate corn and vegetables sufficient for a comfortable
subsistence. The Piankasha band is less improved than the Weas. The
former have a field of about fifty acres, made by the government; the
latter have made their own improvements.

The Peorias and Kaskaskias are also bands of the Miamis. Their land
lies immediately west of the Weas; adjoins the Shawanoes on the
north, and the Ottowas on the west. They own 96,000 acres. They are
improving, live in log-houses, have small fields generally enclosed
with rail-fences, and own considerable numbers of cattle and swine.[82]

The lands of the Ottowas lie immediately west of the Peorias and
Kaskaskias, and south of the Shawanoes. The first band of emigrants
received 36,000 acres, and one which arrived subsequently, 40,000
acres, adjoining the first. They all live in good {139} log cabins,
have fields enclosed with rail-fences, raise a comfortable supply of
corn and garden vegetables, are beginning to raise wheat, have horses,
cattle and swine, a small grist-mill in operation, and many other
conveniences of life, that indicate an increasing desire among them to
seek from the soil, rather than the chase, the means of life. About
five thousand Ottowas, residing in Michigan, are soon to be removed
to their brethren in the Territory. The country of the Ottowas lies
upon the western verge of the contemplated Indian settlement, and
consequently opens an unlimited range to the westward. Their government
is based on the old system of Indian chieftaincies.[83]

Immediately on the north of the Weas and Piankashas the Peorias
and Kaskaskias and Ottowas, lies the country of the Shawnees, or
Shawanoes. It extends along the line of the State of Missouri, north,
twenty-eight miles to the Missouri River at its junction with the
Konzas, thence to a point sixty miles on a direct course to the lands
of the Kauzaus, thence south on the Kauzaus line six miles, and from
these lines, with a breadth of about nineteen miles to a north and
south line, one hundred and twenty miles west of the State of Missouri,
{140} containing 1,600,000 acres. Their principal settlements are on
the north-east corner of their country, between the Missouri border
and the Konzas River. Most of them live in neatly hewn log-cabins,
erected by themselves, and partially supplied with furniture of their
own manufacture. Their fields are inclosed with rail-fences, and
sufficiently large to yield plentiful supplies of corn and culinary
vegetables. They keep cattle and swine, work oxen, and use horses for
draught, and own some ploughs, waggons and carts. They have a saw and
grist-mill, erected by government at an expense of about £1,600. This,
like many other emigrant tribes, is much scattered. Besides the two
bands on the Neosho, already mentioned, there is one on Trinity River,
in Texas, and others in divers places.

Under the superintendence of Missionaries of various denominations,
these people are making considerable progress in Education and
the Mechanic Arts. They have a printing press among them, from
which is issued a monthly periodical, entitled the "Shauwawnoue
Kesauthwau"--Shawanoe Sun.[84]

The lands of the Delawares lie north of the Shawanots, in the forks of
the Konzas {141} and Missouri Rivers; extending up the former to the
Kauzaus lands, thence north twenty-four miles, to the north-east corner
of the Kauzaus survey, up the Missouri twenty-three miles, in a direct
course to Cantonment Leavenworth, thence with a line westward to a
point ten miles north of the north-east corner of the Kauzaus survey,
and then a slip not more than ten miles wide, it extends westwardly
along the northern boundary of the Kauzaus, two-hundred and ten miles
from the State of Missouri.

They live in the eastern portion of their country, near the junction
of the Konzas and Missouri Rivers; have good hewn log-houses, and some
furniture in them; inclose their fields with rail fences; keep cattle
and hogs; apply horses to draught; use oxen and ploughs; cultivate corn
and garden vegetables, sufficient for use: have commenced the culture
of wheat; and own a grist and saw-mill, erected by the United States.
Some of these people remain in the Lake country; a few are in Texas;
about one-hundred reside on the Choctaw lands near Arkansas River, one
hundred and twenty miles west of the state of Arkansas. These latter
have acquired the {142} languages of the Cumanches, Keaways, Pawnees,
&c., and are extensively employed as interpreters by traders from
the Indian Territory. The Treaty of September, 1829, provides that
thirty-six sections of the _best_ land within the district at that time
ceded to the United States, be selected and sold, and the proceeds
applied to the support of Schools for the education of Delaware
children. In the year 1838, the Delawares agreed to a commutation
of two dollars per acre, which secures to them an Education Fund of

The country of the Kauzaus lies on the Konzas River. It commences sixty
miles west of the State of Missouri, and thence, in a width of thirty
miles, extends westward as far as the plains can be inhabited. It is
well watered and timbered; and in every respect delightful. They are
a lawless, dissolute race. Formerly they committed many depredations
upon their own traders, and other persons ascending the Missouri River.
But, being latterly restrained in this regard by the United States,
they have turned their predatory operations upon their red neighbours.
In language, habits and condition in life, they are in effect the same
as the Osages. In {143} matters of peace and war, the two tribes are
blended. They are virtually one people.

Like the Osages, the Kauzaus are ignorant and wretched in the extreme;
uncommonly servile, and easily managed by the white men who reside
among them.[86] Almost all of them live in villages of straw, bark,
flag and earth huts. These latter are in the form of a cone; wall two
feet in thickness, supported by wooden pillars within. Like the other
huts, these have no floor except the earth. The fire is built in the
centre of the interior area. The smoke escapes at an opening in the
apex of the cone. The door is a mere hole, through which they crawl,
closed by the skin of some animal suspended therein.[87] They cultivate
small patches of corn, beans and melons. They dig the ground with hoes
and sticks. Their fields generally, are not fenced. They have one,
however, of three hundred acres, which the United States six years ago
ploughed and fenced for them. The principal Chiefs have log-houses
built by the Government Agent.

It is encouraging, however, to know that these miserable creatures
are beginning to yield to the elevating influences around {144} them.
A missionary has induced some of them to leave the villages, make
separate settlements, build log-houses, &c. The United States have
furnished them with four yoke of oxen, one waggon, and other means of
cultivating the soil. They have succeeded in stealing a large number
of horses and mules; own a very few hogs; no stock cattle. By a treaty
formed with them in 1825, thirty-six sections, or 23,040 acres, of
good land were to be selected and sold to educate Kauzaus children
within their territory. But proper care not having been taken in making
the selection, 9,000 acres only have been sold. The remaining 14,040
acres of the tract, it is said, will scarcely sell at any price, so
utterly worthless is it. Hence only £2,250 have been realised from this
munificent appropriation. By the same treaty, provision was made for
the application of £120 per annum, to aid them in agriculture.[88]

The Kickapoo lands lie on the north of the Delawares; extend up the
Missouri river thirty miles direct, thence westward about forty five
miles, and thence south twenty miles to the Delaware line, embracing
768,000 acres.

They live on the south-eastern extremity {145} of their lands, near
Cantonment Leavenworth.[89] In regard to civilization, their condition
is similar to that of the Peorias. They are raising a surplus of
the grains, &c. have cattle and hogs, £140 worth of the latter, and
three hundred and forty head of the former from the United States,
in obedience to treaty stipulations; have about thirty yoke of oxen,
fourteen yoke of them purchased chiefly with the produce of their
farms; have a saw and grist mill, erected by the United States.
Nearly one-half of the tribe are unsettled and scattered, some in
Texas, others with the southern tribes, and still others ranging the
mountains. The treaty of October 24th, 1832, provides that the United
States shall pay £100 per annum for ten successive years, for the
support of a school, purchase of books, &c. for the benefit of the
Kickapoo tribe on their own lands. A schoolhouse and teacher have been
furnished in conformity with this stipulation. The same treaty provides
£200 for labour and improvements on the Kickapoo lands.[90]

The Sauks, and Reynards or Foxes, speak the same language, and are so
perfectly consolidated by intermarriages and other ties of interest,
as, in fact, to be one nation.[91]

{146} They formerly owned the north-western half of the State of
Illinois, and a large part of the State of Missouri. No Indian
tribe, except the Sioux, has shown such daring intrepidity, and such
implacable hatred towards other tribes. Their enmity, when once
excited, was never known to be appeased, till the arrow and tomahawk
had for ever prostrated their foes. For centuries the prairies of
Illinois and Iowa were the theatre of their exterminating prowess;
and to them is to be attributed the almost entire destruction of the
Missouris, the Illinois, Cahokias, Kaskaskias, and Peorias. They were,
however, steady and sincere in their friendship to the whites; and many
is the honest old settler on the borders of their old dominion, who
mentions with the warmest feelings, the respectful treatment he has
received from them, while he cut the logs for his cabin, and ploughed
his "potato patch" on that lonely and unprotected frontier.

Like all the tribes, however, this also dwindles away at the approach
of the whites. A melancholy fact. The Indians' bones must enrich the
soil, before the plough of civilized man can open it. The noble heart,
educated by the tempest to {147} endure the last pang of departing life
without a cringe of a muscle; that heart educated by his condition to
love with all the powers of being, and to hate with the exasperated
malignity of a demon; that heart, educated by the voice of its own
existence--the sweet whisperings of the streams--the holy flowers of
spring-to trust in, and adore the Great producing and sustaining Cause
of itself, and the broad world and the lights of the upper skies, must
fatten the corn hills of a more civilized race! The sturdy plant of
the wilderness droops under the enervating culture of the garden. The
Indian is buried with his arrows and bow.

In 1832 their friendly relations with their white neighbours were, I
believe, for the first time, seriously interrupted. A treaty had been
formed between the chiefs of the tribe and commissioners, representing
the United States, containing, among other stipulations, the sale of
their lands north of the Rock River, &c. in the State of Illinois.
This tract of country contained the old villages and burial-places of
the tribe. It was, indeed, the sanctuary of all that was venerable and
sacred among them. They wintered and summered there long before the
date of their historical legends. And on {148} these flowering plains
the spoils of war--the loves of early years--every thing that delights
man to remember of the past, clung closely to the tribe, and made them
dissatisfied with the sale. Black-Hawk was the principal chief. He,
too, was unwilling to leave his village in a charming glen, at the
mouth of Rock River, and increased the dissatisfaction of his people
by declaring that "the white chiefs had deceived himself and the other
contracting chiefs" in this, "that he had never, and the other chiefs
had never consented to such a sale as the white chiefs had written,
and were attempting to enforce upon them." They dug up the painted
tomahawk with great enthusiasm, and fought bravely by their noble old
chief for their beautiful home. But, in the order of nature, the plough
must bury the hunter. And so it was with this truly great chief and his
brave tribe. They were driven over the Mississippi to make room for the
marshalled host of veteran husbandmen, whose strong blows had levelled
the forests of the Atlantic States; and yet unwearied with planting
the rose on the brow of the wilderness, demanded that the Prairies also
should yield food to their hungry sickles.[92]

{149} The country assigned them as their permanent residence, adjoins
the southern boundary of the Kickapoos, and on the north and north
east the Missouri river. They are but little improved. Under treaty
stipulations, they have some few houses and fields made for them by
the United States, and are entitled to more. Some live stock has been
given them, and more is to be furnished. The main body of the Sauks,
usually denominated the Sauks and Foxes, estimated at four thousand
six hundred souls, reside on the Iowa river, in Iowa Territory. They
will ultimately be removed to unappropriated lands adjoining those
already occupied by their kindred within the Indian Territory. Both
these bands number twelve thousand four hundred. By the treaty of
Prairie du Chien of 1830, the Sauks are entitled to £100 a year for the
purposes of education. By treaty of September, 1836, they are entitled
to a schoolmaster, a farmer, and blacksmith, as long as the United
States shall deem proper. Three comfortable houses are to be erected
for them, two hundred acres of prairie land fenced and ploughed, such
agricultural implements furnished as they may need for five years, one
ferry-boat, two hundred and {150} five head of cattle, one hundred
stock hogs, and a flouring mill. These benefits they are receiving, but
are making an improvident use of them.

The country of the Iowas contains one hundred and twenty-eight thousand
acres adjoining the north eastern boundaries of the Sauks, with the
Missouri river on the north east, and the great Nemaha river on the
north. Their condition is similar to that of the Sauks. The aid which
they have received, and are to receive from the government, is about
the same in proportion to their numbers. The villages of the Sauks and
Iowas, are within two miles of each other.[93]

The Otoes are the descendants of the Missouris, with whom they united
after the reduction of the latter tribe by the Sauks and Foxes.
They claim a portion of land lying in the fork between Missouri and
Great Platte rivers. The government of the United States understand,
however, that their lands extend southward from the Platte down the
Missouri to Little Nemaha river, a distance of about forty miles;
thence their southern boundary extends westward up Little Nemaha to
its source, and thence due west. Their western and northern boundaries
are not particularly {151} defined. Their southern boundary is about
twenty-five miles north of the Iowa's land.[94]

By treaty, such of their tribe as are related to the whites, have an
interest in a tract adjoining the Missouri river, and extending from
the Little Nemaha to the Great Nemaha, a length of about twenty-eight
miles, and ten miles wide. No Indians reside on this tract.

The condition of this people is similar to that of the Osages and
Kauzaus. The United States Government has fenced and ploughed for them
one hundred and thirty acres of land. In 1838, they cultivated three
hundred acres of corn. They own six ploughs, furnished by Government.
Their progenitors, the Missouris, were, when the French first knew the
country, the most numerous tribe in the vicinity of Saint Louis; and
the great stream, on whose banks they reside, and the State which has
risen upon their hunting grounds when the race is extinct, will bear
their name to the generations of coming time. They are said to have
been an energetic and thrifty race before they were visited by the
small-pox, and the destroying vengeance of the Sauks and Foxes. The
site of their ancient village is to be seen on the north bank of the
{152} river, honoured with their name, just below where Grand river now
enters it.[95] Their territory embraced the fertile country lying a
considerable distance along the Missouri, above their village--and down
to the mouth of the Osage, and thence to the Mississippi. The Osages
consider them their inferiors, and treat them oftentimes with great

The Omahas own the country north of the mouth of the Great Platte. The
Missouri river is considered its north-eastern limit; the northern and
western boundaries are undefined. This tribe was formerly the terror
of their neighbours. They had, in early times, about one thousand
warriors, and a proportionate number of women and children. But the
small-pox visited them in 1802, and reduced the tribe to about three
hundred souls. This so disheartened those who survived, that they
burnt their village and became a wandering people. They have at last
taken possession again of their country, and built a village on the
south-west bank of the Missouri, at a place chosen for them by the
United States. Their huts are constructed of earth, like those of the
Otoes. A treaty made with them in July, 1830, provides that an annuity
of five hundred {153} dollars shall be paid to them in agricultural
implements, for ten years thereafter, and longer if the President of
the United States thinks proper. A blacksmith also, is to be furnished
them for the same length of time. Another treaty obliges the United
States to plough and fence one hundred acres of land for them, and to
expend, for the term of ten years, £100 annually, in educating Omaha

The Puncahs, or Ponsars, are the remnant of a nation of respectable
importance, formerly living upon Red river, of Lake Winnipeg. Having
been nearly destroyed by the Sioux, they removed to the west side of
the Missouri river, where they built a fortified village, and remained
some years; but being pursued by their ancient enemies, the Sioux,
and reduced by continual wars, they joined the Omahas, and so far
lost their original character as to be undistinguished from them.
They, however, after a while, resumed a separate existence, which they
continue to maintain. They reside in the northern extremity of the
Indian Territory.[97] Their circumstances are similar to those of the

The Pawnees own an extensive country lying west of the Otoes and
Omahas, on {154} the Great Platte river. Their villages are upon
this stream and its lower tributaries. They are said to have about
two thousand five hundred warriors. Among them are still to be found
every custom of old Indian life. The earth-hut, the scalping-knife,
the tomahawk, and the scalps of their foes dangling from the posts
in their smoky dwellings, the wild war cries, the venerated medicine
bag, with the calumet of peace, the sacred wampum that records
their treaties, the feasts and dances of peace and of war, those of
marriage and of sacrifice, the moccasins, and leggings and war-caps,
and horrid paintings; the moons of the year, as March, the 'worm
moon,' April, the 'moon of plants,' May, the 'moon of flowers,' June,
the 'hot moon,' July, the 'buck moon,' August, the 'sturgeon moon,'
September, the 'corn moon,' October, the travelling moon,' November,
the 'beaver moon,' December, the 'hunting moon,' January, the 'cold
moon,' February, the 'snow moon,' and in reference to its phases, the
"dead moon" and "live moon;" and days are counted by "sleeps," and
their years by "snows." In a word, the Pawnees are as yet unchanged
by the enlightening influences of knowledge and {155} religion. The
philanthropy of the United States Government, however, is putting
within their reach every inducement to improvement. By treaty, £400
worth of agricultural implements is to be furnished them annually for
the term of five years, or longer, at the discretion of the President
of the United States; also, £200 worth of live stock whenever the
President shall believe them prepared to profit thereby; also, £400
annually are to be expended to support two smitheries, with two smiths
in each, for supplying iron, steel, &c., for the term of ten years;
also four grist mills, propelled by horse power; also four farmers
during the term of five years. Also the sum of £200 annually, for ten
years, is to be allowed for the support of schools among them.[98]

These are the emigrant and native Indians within the "Indian
Territory," and their several conditions and circumstances, so far as
I have been able to learn them. The other Indians in the Great Prairie
Wilderness will be briefly noticed under two divisions--those living
south, and those living north of the Great Platte river.

There are living on the head waters of Red river, and between that
river and the {156} Rio Bravo del Norte, the remains of twelve
different tribes--ten of which have an average population of two
hundred souls; none of them number more than four hundred. The
Carankouas and Tetaus, or Cumanches, are more numerous. The former live
about the Bay of St. Bernard. They were always inimical to the Mexicans
and Spaniards; never would succumb to their authority, or receive their
religious teachers. And many hard battles were fought in maintaining
their independence in these respects. In 1817, they amounted to about
three thousand, of which six hundred were warriors.[99]

The Cumanches are supposed to be twenty thousand strong. They are a
brave vagrant tribe, and never reside but a few days in a place, but
travel north with the buffalo in the summer, and, as winter comes
on, return with them to the plains west of Texas. They traverse the
immense space of country extending from the Trinity and Brazos to the
Red River, and the head waters of the Arkansas, and Colorado to the
west, to the Pacific Ocean, and thence to the head streams of the
Missouri, and thence to their winter haunts. They have tents made of
neatly dressed skins, in the form of cones. These, when they stop, are
pitched so as to {157} form streets and squares. They pitch and strike
these tents in an astonishingly short space of time. To every tent is
attached two pack-horses, the one to carry the tent, and the other
the polished cedar poles with which it is spread. These loaded in a
trice--the saddle horses harnessed in still less time--twenty thousand
savages--men, women, and children, warriors and chiefs--start at a
signal whoop, travel the day, again raise their city of tents to rest
and feed themselves and animals for another march.[100]

Thus passes life with the Cumanches. Their plains are covered with
buffalo, elk, deer, and wild horses. It is said that they drink the
blood of the buffalo warm from the veins.

They also eat the liver in its raw state, using the gall as sauce. The
dress of the women is a long loose robe which reaches from the chin to
the ground, made of deer skin dressed very neatly, and painted with
figures of different colours and significations. The dress of the men
is close pantaloons, and a hunting shirt or frock made of the same
beautiful material. They are a warlike and brave race, and stand in the
relation of conquerors among the tribes in the south. The Spaniards
of New Mexico {158} are all acquainted with the strength of their
enemy, and their power to punish those whom they hate. For many are
the scalps and death-dances among these Indians, which testify of wars
and tomahawks which have dug tombs for that poor apology of European
extraction. They are exceedingly fond of stealing the objects of their
enemies' affection. Female children are sought with the greatest
avidity, and adopted or married. "About sixty years ago," as the tale
runs, "the daughter of the Governor-General at Chilhuahua, was stolen
by them. The father immediately pursued, and by an agent, after some
weeks had elapsed, purchased her ransom. But she refused to return to
her parents, and sent them these words: 'That the Indians had tattooed
her face according to their style of beauty--had given her to be the
wife of a young man by whom she believed herself enceinte--that her
husband treated her well, and reconciled her to his mode of life--that
she would be made more unhappy by returning to her father under these
circumstances, than by remaining where she was.' She continued to live
with her husband in the nation, and raised a family of children."

{159} There are the remains of fifteen or twenty tribes in that part of
the Great Prairie Wilderness north of the Great Platte, and north and
west of the Indian Territory. They average about eight hundred each.
The Sioux and the small-pox have reduced them thus.

The Knistineaux chiefly reside in the British possessions along the
northern shores of Lake Superior. Some bands of them have established
themselves south of latitude 49° north, near the head waters of these
branches of Red River of Lake Winnipeg, which rise south of the sources
of the Mississippi. They are moderate in stature, well proportioned,
and of great activity. Mackenzie remarks that their countenances are
frank and agreeable, that the females are well-formed, and their
features are more regular and comely than those of any other tribe he
saw upon the continent. They are warlike--number about three thousand;
but the Sioux are annihilating them.[101]

The Sioux claim a country equal in extent to some of the most powerful
empires of Europe. Their boundaries "commence at the Prairie du
Chien, and ascend the Mississippi on both sides to the River De {160}
Corbeau, and up that to its source, from thence to the sources of the
St. Peter's, thence to the 'Montaigne de la Prairie,' thence to the
Missouri, and down that river to the Omahas, thence to the sources of
the River Des Moines, and thence to the place of beginning." They also
claim a large territory south of the Missouri.[102]

The country from Rum River[103] to the River de Corbeau is claimed
by them and the Chippeways, and has been the source of many bloody
encounters for the past two hundred years. These Indians have conquered
and destroyed immense numbers of their race. They have swept the banks
of the Missouri from the Great Falls to the mouth of the Great Platte
and the plains that lie north of the latter stream, between the Black
Hills and the Mississippi. They are divided into six bands, viz.: the
Menowa Kontong, which resides around the falls of St. Anthony, and
the lower portion of St. Peter's River; the Washpetong, still higher
on that stream; the Sussetong, on its head waters and those of Red
River, of Lake Winnipeg; the Yanktons of the north, who rove over the
plains on the borders of the Missouri valley south of the sources of
the St. Peter's; the Yonktons Ahnah, who {161} live on the Missouri
near the entrance of James River; the Tetons Brulos; Tetons Okandandas;
Tetons Minnekincazzo, and Tetons Sahone, who reside along the banks
of the Missouri from the Great Bend northward to the villages of
the Riccarees.[104] Theirs is the country from which is derived the
colouring matter of that river. The plains are strongly impregnated
with Glauber salts, alum, copperas, and sulphur. In the spring of the
year immense bluffs fall in the stream; and these, together with the
leachings from these medicated prairies, give to the waters their mud
colour, and purgative qualities.

These bands comprise about twenty-eight thousand souls. They subsist
upon buffalo meat, and the wild fruits of their forests. The former
is prepared for winter, and for travelling use, in the following
manner:--The lean parts of the buffalo are cut into thin slices, dried
over a slow fire, in the sun, or by exposing it to frost--pounded fine,
and then, with a portion of berries, mixed with an equal quantity of
fat from the humps and brisket, or with marrow, in a boiling state, and
sewed up tightly in sacks of green hide, or packed closely in baskets
of wicker work. This "pemican," as they call it, will keep {162} for
several years. They also use much of the wild rice, avena fatua, which
grows in great abundance on the St. Peter's, and among the lakes and
head streams of Red River, of Winnipeg, and in other parts of their
territory. It grows in water from four to seven feet deep with a muddy
bottom. The plant rises from four to eight feet above the surface of
the water, about the size of the red cane of Tennessee, full of joints,
and of the colour and texture of bull-rushes: the stalks above the
water, and the branches which bear the grain, resemble oats.[105]

To these strange grain fields the wild duck and geese resort for food
in the summer. And to prevent it from being devoured by them, the
Indians tie it, when the kernel is in the milky state, just below the
head, into large bunches. This arrangement prevents these birds from
pressing the heads down within their reach. When ripe, the Indians
pass among it with canoes lined with blankets, into which they bend
the stalks, and whip off the grain with sticks; and so abundant is it,
that an expert squaw will soon fill a canoe. After being gathered, it
is dried and put into skins or baskets for use. They boil or parch
it, and eat it in the winter season {163} with their pemican. This
plant is found no farther south than Illinois, no farther east than
Sandusky Bay, and north nearly to Hudson's Bay. The rivers and lakes of
the Sioux and Chippeway country are said to produce annually several
million bushels of it. It is equally as nutritious and palatable as
the Carolina rice. Carver also says that the St. Peter's flows through
a country producing spontaneously all the necessaries of life in the
greatest abundance. Besides the wild rice, he informs us that every
part of the valley of that river "is filled with trees bending under
their loads of plums, grapes, and apples; the meadows with hops, and
many sorts of vegetables, while the ground is stored with edible roots,
and covered with such amazing quantities of sugar-maple, that they
would produce sugar enough for any number of inhabitants."[106]

Mr. Carver seems to have been, to say the least, rather an enthusiastic
admirer of nature; and although later travellers in the country of the
Naudowessies (Sioux) have not been able to find grouped within it all
the fruits and flowers of an Eden, yet that their lands lying on the
Mississippi, the St. Peter's, and the Red Rivers, produce a luxurious
vegetation, groves of fine timber separated {164} by open plains of the
rich wild grasses, and by lakes and streams of pure water well stored
with fish; that there are many valuable edible roots there: and the
whortleberry, blackberry, wild plum and crab-apple, other and later
travellers have seen and declared; so that no doubt can be entertained
that this talented and victorious tribe possess a very desirable  and
beautiful country. A revolted band of the Sioux called Osinipoilles,
live near the Rocky Mountains upon the Sascatchiwine river, a pleasant
champaign country, abounding in game. They subsist by the chase, and
the spoils of war. Their number is estimated to be eight thousand.
Their dwellings are neat conical tents of tanned buffalo skins.[107]

The Chippewyans or Chippeways, were supposed by Lewis and Clark to
inhabit the country lying between the 60th and 65th parallels of north
latitude, and 100° and 110° of west longitude.[108] Other authorities,
and I believe more correct, assert that they also occupy the head
waters of the Mississippi, Ottertail, and Leach, De Corbeau and Red
rivers, and Winnipeg lake. They are a numerous tribe, speak a copious
language, are timorous, vagrant, and selfish; stature rather low;
features coarse; hair {165} lank, and not unfrequently a sunburnt
brown; women more agreeable (and who can doubt the fact) than the men;
but have an awkward gait; which proceeds from their being accustomed,
nine months in the year, to wear snow shoes, and drag sledges of a
weight from two hundred to four hundred pounds. They are entirely
submissive to their husbands; and for very trifling causes are treated
with such cruelty as to produce death! These people betroth their
children when quite young; and when they arrive at puberty the ceremony
of marriage is performed; that is, the bridegroom pays the market price
for his bride, and takes her to his lodge, not "for better or for
worse," but to put her away and take another when he pleases. Plurality
of wives is customary among them. They generally wear the hair long.
The braves sometimes clip it in fantastic forms. The women always wear
it of great length, braided in two queues, and dangling down the back.
Jealous husbands sometimes despoil them of these tresses. Both sexes
make from one to four bars of lines upon the forehead or cheeks, by
drawing a thread dipped in the proper colour beneath the skin of those

{166} No people are more attentive to comfort in dress than the
Chippeways. It is composed of deer and fawn skins, dressed with the
hair on, for the winter, and without the hair for the summer wear.
The male wardrobe consists of shoes, leggings, frock and cap, &c. The
shoes are made in the usual moccasin form, save that they sometimes
use the green instead of the tanned hide. The leggings are made like
the legs of pantaloons unconnected by a waistband. They reach to the
waist; and are supported by a belt. Under the belt a small piece of
leather is drawn, which serves as an apron before and behind. The shoes
and leggings are sewed together. In the former are put quantities of
moose and reindeer hair; and additional pieces of leather as socks. The
frock or hunting shirt is in the form of a peasant's frock. When girded
around the waist it reaches to the middle of the thigh. The mittens
are sewed to the sleeves, or suspended by strings from the shoulders.
A kind of tippet surrounds the neck. The skin of the deer's head
furnishes a curious covering to the head; and a robe made of several
deer or fawn skins sewed together, covers the whole. This dress is worn
single or double, as circumstances suggest; but in {167} winter the
hair side of the undersuit is worn next the person, and that of the
outer one without. Thus arrayed, the Chippeway will lay himself down
on the ice, in the middle of a lake, and repose in comfort; and when
rested, and disencumbered of the snow-drifts which have covered him
while asleep, he mounts his snow shoes, and travels on without fear of
frosts or storm. The dress of the women differs from that of the men.
Their leggings are tied below the knee; and their frock or chemise
extends down to the ankle. Mothers make these garments large enough
about the shoulders to hold an infant; and when travelling carry their
little ones upon their backs next the skin.

Their arms and domestic apparatus, in addition to guns, &c., obtained
from the whites, are bows and arrows, fishing-nets, and lines made of
green deer-skin thongs, and nets of the same material for catching
the beaver, as he escapes from his lodge into the water; and sledges
and snow-shoes. The snow-shoes are of very superior workmanship. The
inner part of the frame is straight; the outer one curved; the ends are
brought to a point, and in front turned up. This frame done, they are
neatly placed {168} with light thongs of deer-skin. Their sledges are
made of red fir-tree boards, neatly polished and turned up in front.
The means of sustaining life in the country claimed by these Indians
are abundant; and if sufficient forethought were used in laying in food
for winter, they might live in comparative comfort. The woodless hills
are covered with a moss that sustains the deer and moose and reindeer;
and when boiled, forms a gelatinous substance very acceptable to the
human palate.[109] Their streams and lakes are stored with the greatest
abundance of valuable fish. But although more provident than any other
Indians on the continent, they often suffer severely in the dead of
winter, when, to prevent death from cold, they fly from their fishing
stations to their scanty woods.

They are superstitious in the extreme. Almost every action of their
lives is influenced by some whimsical notion. They believe in the
existence of a good and evil spirit, that rule in their several
departments over the fortunes of men; and in a state of future rewards
and punishments. They have an order of priests who administer the rites
of their religion--offer sacrifices at their solemn feasts, &c.[110]
They have conjurors {169} who cure diseases--as rheumatism, flux and

"The notion which these people entertain of the creation is of a very
singular nature. They believe that at first the earth was one vast and
entire ocean, inhabited by no living creature except a mighty Bird,
whose eyes were fire, whose glances were lightning, and the flapping of
whose wings was thunder. On his descent to the ocean, and touching it,
the earth instantly arose, and remained on the surface of the waters.
This omnipotent Bird then called forth all the variety of animals from
the earth except the Chippeways, who were produced from a dog. And this
circumstance occasions their aversion to the flesh of that animal, as
well as the people who eat it. This extraordinary tradition proceeds to
relate that the great Bird, having finished his work, made an arrow,
which was to be preserved with great care and to remain untouched; but
that the Chippeways were so devoid of understanding as to carry it
away; and the sacrilege so enraged the great Bird that he has never
since appeared."

"They have also a tradition among them that they originally came
from another {170} country, inhabited by very wicked people, and had
traversed a great lake, which was narrow, shallow and full of islands,
where they had suffered great misery--it being always winter, with ice
and deep snow. At the Coppermine River, where they had made the first
land, the ground was covered with copper, over which a body of earth
had since been collected to the depth of a man's height. They believe,
also, that in ancient times their ancestors lived till their feet were
worn out with walking, and their throats with eating. They describe a
deluge when the waters spread over the whole earth, except the highest
mountains, on the top of which they preserved themselves. They believe
that immediately after their death they pass into another world, where
they arrive at a large river, on which they embark in a stone canoe;
and that a gentle current bears them on to an extensive lake, in the
centre of which is a most beautiful island; and that in view of this
delightful abode they receive that judgement for their conduct during
life, which determines their final state and unalterable allotment.
If their good actions are declared to predominate, they are landed
upon the island, where there is to be no {171} end to their happiness;
which, however, to their notion, consists in an eternal enjoyment of
sensual pleasure and carnal gratification. But if there be bad actions
to weigh down the balance, the stone canoe sinks at once, and leaves
them up to their chins in water, to behold and regret the reward
enjoyed by the good, and eternally struggling, but with unavailing
endeavours, to reach the blissful island from which they are excluded
for ever."

It would be interesting, in closing this notice of the Great Prairie
wilderness, to give an account of the devoted Missionaries of the
various denominations who are labouring to cultivate the Indian in a
manner which at once bespeaks their good sense and honest intentions.
But, as it would require more space and time than can be devoted to it,
merely to present a skeleton view of their multifarious doings, I shall
only remark, in passing, that they appear to have adopted, in their
plan of operations, the principle that to civilize these people, one of
the first steps is to create and gratify those physical wants peculiar
to the civilized state; and also, that the most successful means of
civilizing their mental state, is to teach them a language which is
{172} filled with the learning, sciences, and the religion which has
civilized Europe, that they may enter at once, and with the fullest
vigour into the immense harvests of knowledge and virtue which past
ages and superior races have prepared for them.


[51] See on this subject our volume xvi, p. 174, note 81.--ED.

[52] Farnham is quoting from the Biddle (1814) edition of the journals
of Lewis and Clark. Consult R. G. Thwaites, _Original Journals of the
Lewis and Clark Expedition_ (New York, 1903-05), ii, pp. 159-339.--ED.

[53] For the sources of North Platte see James's _Long's Expedition_,
our volume xv, pp. 234-236, with accompanying note.--ED.

[54] Long's expedition of 1819-20 followed the South Platte nearly to
its source. See our volume xv, pp. 241-305, especially p. 292, note
141. James's Peak was the name bestowed by Long upon what is now known
as Pike's Peak, because Dr. Edwin James was the first to make the
ascent. Frémont restored the name of Pike in 1843. See our volume xvi,
pp. 11-36, especially note 15.--ED.

[55] For the first wagons on the Oregon Trail see De Smet's _Letters_,
in our volume xxvii, p. 243, note 116. The Whitman party in 1836
succeeded in conveying wagons as far as Fort Boise, on Lewis River.
There is no record that wagons had gone through to Walla Walla at the
time of Farnham's journey.--ED.

[56] This is a good brief description of the Oregon Trail as far as
Fort Hall. See our volume xxi, Wyeth's _Oregon_, pp. 52, 53, and notes
32-34; also Townsend's _Narrative_, pp. 187-211, notes 36, 43, 44, 45,

[57] This description regarding the California route shows the
indefiniteness of the knowledge then current. No one is known to have
passed this way save Jedediah S. Smith (1827) and Joseph Walker, sent
by Captain Bonneville (1833). When Bidwell and Bartleson went out in
1841, they found no one who could give them detailed information of
the route from Fort Hall to California, and they stumbled through the
wilderness in great confusion. See John Bidwell, "First Emigrant Train
to California," in _Century Magazine_, xix (new series), pp. 106-129.
Mary River is that now known as the Humboldt, which rises a hundred
miles west of Great Salt Lake and after a course of nearly three
hundred miles west and south-west flows into Humboldt Lake or Sink.
This river was originally named Ogden for Peter Skeen Ogden, a Hudson
Bay factor, whose Indian wife was known as Mary. The name Humboldt was
assigned by Lieutenant Frémont (1845), who does not appear to have
connected it with Mary River, which he sought the preceding year. This
explorer also proved (1844) that the San Joaquin and other affluents of
San Francisco Bay do not "form a natural and easy passage" through the
California or Sierra Nevada Mountains.--ED.

[58] By the "Great Gap" Farnham intends South Pass, for which see
Wyeth's _Oregon_ in our volume xxi, p. 58, note 37.--ED.

[59] For this obstruction, and the clearing of it, see our volume xvii,
p. 70, note 64.--ED.

[60] For this river see Pattie's _Personal Narrative_ in our volume
xviii, p. 75, note 45.--ED.

[61] For a brief biography of Zebulon M. Pike, see our volume viii,
p. 280, note 122. The journals of his expedition have been edited by
Elliott Coues, _Expeditions of Zebulon M. Pike_ (New York, 1895).--ED.

[62] Anahuac was a native Mexican word originally applied to the low
coastal lands, but gradually transferred to the great central plateau
of Mexico, with its mountainous ranges. Farnham considers the Rocky
Mountain range south of South Pass an integral part of this Mexican
system, as it was in his time under the Mexican government.

The Grand Saline branch of the Arkansas is probably intended for the
Negracka, now called Salt Fork. See our volume xvi, p. 243, note

[63] This estimate of population would seem to be fair. Compare Gregg's
tables in our volume xx, pp. 317-341, notes 204-215, compiled from the
report of the Indian commissioner in 1844.--ED.

[64] Ponca (Punca) Creek, which in 1837 formed the northern boundary of
what was known as "Indian Territory." See our volume xxii, p. 291, note

[65] This is a gratuitous remark. The conduct of the British Government
will compare most favourably with that of the United States. The
English have not thought of hunting Indians with blood-hounds.--ENGLISH

[66] See on this subject Gregg's _Commerce of the Prairies_, in our
volume xx, p. 300, note 191.--ED.

[67] See our volume xx, pp. 308-315, with accompanying notes.--ED.

[68] This plan for a general federation of the tribes west of the
Mississippi was popular in 1836-37. Rev. Isaac McCoy was appointed
agent and detailed to approach the tribes with explanations. He chose
the site for a central government as here described by Farnham. See 25
Cong., 2 sess., _Senate Docs._, i, pp. 579-584. The following year a
change in the administration of the commissionership of Indian affairs
brought about a reversal of policy. The difficulties were enlarged
upon, and the reluctance of the more civilized tribes made an excuse
for dropping the project.--ED.

[69] That is, the one hundredth meridian of west longitude.--ED.

[70] This constitution was adopted in 1838; later it was amended, and
brought more into harmony with the Cherokee constitution, which was
modelled upon that of Mississippi. The modified document provided
for a single executive, called the principal chief, elected for two
years, and ineligible for more than four years in six; two houses of
legislature; courts of judiciary, etc. After the War of Secession this
constitution was further amended, slavery being then abolished. In
1897 the Choctaw entered into the Atoka agreement with the commission
to the Five Civilized Tribes, whereby the judicial functions of their
tribal government have passed to the United States courts erected
in the territory. Tribal government itself was to have ceased March
6, 1906; at that time, all lands being allotted, it was expected
that the Choctaw became full-fledged American citizens. But owing to
complications involved in settling the estates, an act of postponement
was passed by Congress in the spring of that year, providing that
"tribal existence and present tribal governments are continued in full
force until otherwise provided by law." See article, "The End of the
Civilized Tribes," in _The Independent_ (New York, 1906), lx, pp. 1110,

[71] On the Chickasaw see our volume xx, p. 310, note 199. The
Chickasaw were embraced in the Atoka agreement (see preceding note),
and the allotment of their lands is about completed. As in succeeding
paragraphs Farnham has here changed the sums originally indicated
in American currency to their corresponding equivalents in English

[72] On the subject of education and the Choctaw Academy see our volume
xx, p. 306, with accompanying notes.--ED.

[73] This is an accurate description of the present boundary of the
Cherokee Nation, but "state of Kansas" should be read for "Osage

[74] Compare a similar description by Gregg in our volume xx, p.

[75] In 1856 the Creeks ceded part of the western portion of their
strip to the Seminole; and again in 1866, both Creeks and Seminole
ceded to the United States a portion of their western territory, which
makes a large part of the present Oklahoma. The Creek western boundary
is, therefore, a trifle east of 97°.--ED.

[76] The Creek confederacy was divided into two parts, known as Upper
and Lower Creeks. The former were the chief aggressors in the Creek War
of 1813, which was in fact largely a civil outbreak. General William
McIntosh, halfbreed son of Roderick McIntosh, a Highland emigrant to
West Florida, was an influential chief of the Lower Creeks and loyal to
the Americans. He led the party favoring removal to Indian Territory,
and signed the treaty of Indian Springs (1825) whereupon he was put
to death by the band opposed to emigration. His sons Chilly and Rolly
McIntosh became leaders of the emigration party and removed west of
the Mississippi (1826-27). One of the chiefs of the Eastern band was
Little Doctor, who volunteered to aid the United States in the Seminole
War (1835-42). He came west with his band about 1836. It was not until
1867 that the two factions united under a written constitution and a
republican form of government.--ED.

[77] The Seminole who made their home in Florida, were a branch of the
Creeks. After the Creek War (1813-14) the majority of the hostiles
made their way to the Seminole. When attempt was made to remove these
tribesmen to Indian Territory (1832-34), they resisted sharply and
finally war broke out which was prolonged until 1842. As various bands
surrendered to the United States or were captured, they were sent out
to the territory, so that by 1839 (the year of Farnham's journey) there
were nineteen hundred Seminole among the Creeks. In 1856 they attempted
autonomy, and with the consent of the United States bought 200,000
acres of Creek land; two years later the remainder of the band from
Florida, under their chief Bowlegs, came out and joined their tribe. In
1881-82 they added 175,000 acres to their tract.--ED.

[78] The majority of the Seneca refused to leave New York State--see
our volume viii, p. 183, note 41; and volume xxiv, p. 163, note 176.
The mixed bands in Kansas were removed to Indian Territory in 1867,
and located on the Quapaw Agency. They are now citizens, having lands
allotted in severalty (about 1889) in the north-eastern part of Indian

[79] On the Osage see our volume v, p. 50, note 22. Their Kansas lands
having become very valuable, in 1865 they made a treaty ceding them to
the United States, and removed to Indian Territory. Their reservation
is now in north-east Oklahoma. They are the richest tribe in the United
States, and for that reason somewhat unprogressive.--ED.

[80] For the Quapaw see our volume xiii, p. 117, note 84.--ED.

[81] For the early history of the Potawatomi see our volume i, p. 115,
note 84; xxvii, p. 153, note 23 (De Smet). In 1837 a large tract was
marked out for this tribe in south-west Miami County, Kansas, where
they settled for ten years, and made improvements, but they were again
removed (1847) to a reservation in north-east Kansas, where in 1850
they were joined by a large accession from Michigan. In 1861 a part of
their lands was allotted, and a reservation in Jackson County secured,
whereon about six hundred still live. The Mission band removed to
Indian Territory, and are now over sixteen hundred in number, citizens
of Oklahoma. A few of the tribe yet remain in Michigan.--ED.

[82] For the early history of the Piankeshaw and Wea (Ouiatanon)
Indians see Croghan's _Journals_ in our volume i, pp. 117, 142, notes
85 and 115 respectively. They ceded their Indiana lands by 1818, and
removed first to the vicinity of Ste. Geneviève, Missouri, until in
1832 they emigrated to the present Miami County, Kansas. In 1854 the
greater part of their reservation was ceded to the United States, and
in 1867 they removed to the Quapaw Reserve, where a remnant still live
on allotted lands.

The Peoria and Kaskaskia were Illinois, not Miami bands--see our volume
xxvi, pp. 97, 106, notes 63 and 71 respectively. When they removed from
Illinois (1818) they confederated with the Piankeshaw and Wea, with
whom they have since been associated. In 1904 their population was
reported as about two hundred.--ED.

[83] For the early habitat of the Ottawa see our volume i, p. 76,
note 37. The band that removed west were a part of the Detroit Ottawa
who had lived on Maumee River, Ohio, contiguous with the Miami and
Potawatomi. By a treaty of 1831 they agreed to remove to the Kansas
region, and emigration thither was completed about 1836. Their
reservation grew valuable and in 1867 the Ottawa made a treaty with
the federal government whereby in five years their lands were to be
allotted, and the residue sold. Finding their position uncomfortable,
they petitioned for a reservation and the remnant of the tribe removed
to that of the Quapaw, in Indian Territory, where about two hundred
now live on recently allotted lands. There is no evidence that any
considerable number of Michigan Ottawa ever migrated to Kansas.--ED.

[84] For the early history of the Shawnee see our volume i, p. 23, note
13. In 1793 one portion of this tribe emigrated, together with a band
of Delaware, to the west of the Mississippi, where they dwelt on a
Spanish grant near Cape Girardeau. In 1825 they relinquished this grant
for the Kansas reservation described by Farnham, where they were joined
(1832-33) by the remainder of the tribe from Ohio. In 1854 they ceded
their lands to the federal government, save a reservation of 200,000
acres, where they established a form of government and made a body of
laws. In 1869 about the half of the tribe bought lands of the Cherokee,
and became incorporated with the latter tribe. A small band known as
Eastern Shawnee are on the Quapaw reservation, while the remainder have
been allotted lands in Oklahoma, near the town of Shawnee. Methodists,
Baptists, and Friends all established missions for the Shawnee--see
our volume xxvii, p. 194, note 72 (De Smet), for the first-named
denomination. The Baptist mission, begun in 1831, had a printing press
(1834) whereupon Rev. Jotham Meeker printed several books after a
phonographic system that he had adapted to their language.--ED.

[85] For the early history of the Delaware see our volume xxii, p.
96, note 37. Before the Louisiana Purchase (1803) several bands had
gone west of the Mississippi. In 1818 they ceded all their lands
in the East, and migrated to Missouri, where they lived upon James
Fork of White River, near the present Springfield. In 1829 they were
given a large cession between the Kansas and Missouri rivers, which
they possessed until 1854. After the treaty of cession in that year,
they preserved a considerable reservation, which was sold (1866) to
the Union Pacific Railway Company, whereupon they bought land of the
Cherokee, and became incorporated into the latter tribe, although in
certain relations maintaining autonomy. The band that removed farther
west (1829) are still among the Wichita, at Kiowa Agency. At the close
of Wayne's campaign (1794-95), a considerable portion of the tribe
removed to Canada, in company with the Moravian missionaries.--ED.

[86] See descriptions of the Kansa villages in our volume xxi, pp. 48,
49, 145-148.--ED.

[87] See our volume xiv, pp. 188-209, also the cut of the interior of a
Kansa lodge, p. 208.--ED.

[88] The Missouri Methodists maintained a mission among the Kansa for
several years succeeding 1830. The tribe became, however, much addicted
to intemperance, and is now reduced to somewhat under two hundred. They
are, however, wealthy, their allotment being 406 acres of land per
capita, besides interest from their fund.--ED.

[89] For Cantonment or Fort Leavenworth see our volume xxii, p. 253,
note 204.--ED.

[90] The early history of the Kickapoo is sketched in our volume i, p.
139, note 111. By the treaty of 1819 they ceded all their lands east
of the Mississippi for a tract in Missouri, south of the Osage River,
which in turn was exchanged (1832) for the tract described by Farnham;
see our volume xxii, p. 254, note 206. This was ceded in 1854, save
a reservation of a hundred and fifty thousand acres in Brown County,
Kansas. The Kickapoo have always been wanderers; about 1832 a large
band emigrated to Texas, later to Mexico, and have since been known
as Mexican Kickapoo. About half of these were brought back, their
descendants now living in Oklahoma, near the Shawnee.--ED.

[91] For the early history of the Sauk and Foxes, see our volume
ii, p. 185, note 85; or more particularly, _Wisconsin Historical
Collections_, xvi, xvii. About the beginning of the nineteenth century
they were located on both banks of the Mississippi, from the mouth
of the Wisconsin down to the mouth of the Missouri. By the treaty of
1804 a large amount of land was ceded to the United States, but the
cession was repudiated by many of the tribe; during the War of 1812-15,
these protestants were among the hostiles. Treaties of peace (1815
and 1816) were concluded with the two divisions of the tribe--the
Missouri and Rock River bands respectively. By the treaties of 1824,
1830, and 1836, the former relinquished all their Missouri territory
for a reservation in Kansas and Nebraska, north of the Kickapoo; see
Townsend's _Narrative_ in our volume xxi, p. 122, note 2. This was
largely reduced by the treaty of 1861; so that there is now but a small
reservation in northern Brown County, Kansas, where about eighty of
the Missouri band still live and maintain a day school. The Rock River
band divided into two factions, under Keokuk and Black Hawk. The latter
waged war with the United States in 1832 (see Thwaites, "Black Hawk
War," in _How George Rogers Clark won the North-west_, pp. 115-198),
after which a large cession of lands was made. These the tribesmen
attempted to recover (1836), but by 1842 they had ceded all their Iowa
lands. Migration had already begun (1840) to Kansas, where they settled
upon Marais des Cygnes, in Osage County, the last Foxes removing
thither in 1847. Here the confederacy between the allied tribes, after
existing for over a hundred years, began to dissolve. The Sauk largely
removed to Indian Territory, and in 1904 four hundred and ninety-one
were dwelling upon allotted lands in Oklahoma. The Foxes had begun in
1853 to return to Iowa in small bands. Ingratiating themselves with
the settlers, they purchased lands on Iowa River, in Tama County;
but not until 1867 did the federal government recognize these as
their legal residence. There are now about three hundred and fifty in
this locality, somewhat progressive--owning wagons, sewing-machines,
typewriters, etc.--but still clinging to traditional customs, probably
the most conservative of all tribesmen who have been so long in contact
with the whites. See "Last of the Musquakes," in _Iowa Historical
Record_, xvii, pp. 307-320.--ED.

[92] For Black Hawk and the uprising of his band see Townsend's
_Narrative_ in our volume xxi, p. 123, note 3; also Maximilian's
_Travels_ in our volume xxii, pp. 217, 225, 228, with notes 127, 147,

[93] For the Iowa see Brackenridge's _Journal_ in our volume vi, p.
51, note 13. They were closely associated with the Sauk and Foxes,
and in 1836 ceded all their Iowa lands and removed to Kansas, where
their reservation adjoined that of the former. In 1854 and 1861 they
ceded most of their new reservation, a small band removing to Oklahoma
with the Sauk, the majority still residing in Doniphan County, Kansas,
where two hundred and twenty were reported in 1904. They have a large
preponderance of white blood, and now desire full citizenship.--ED.

[94] See on the Oto, our volume v, p. 74, note 42. This tribe several
times changed their village site. First upon the Platte, in the time
of Lewis and Clark (1804), they removed to the site of Omaha, whence
they had before 1819 returned to the Platte. They finally settled on
the site of Nebraska City, where they remained until 1854, when they
retired to their reservation on the south-eastern border of Nebraska.
Thence they migrated to Indian Territory. Their reservation there
was abolished in 1904, and made part of Pawnee and Noble counties,
Oklahoma, wherein the Oto now dwell on their allotments. They have a
good Indian school, and are reported bright and intelligent.--ED.

[95] See our volume v, p. 56, note 26, for the site of this

[96] For the Omaha see our volume v, p. 86, note 49. Recent reports
show that the trust period will soon be ended, when they will become
full-fledged citizens. The system of leasing lands has been somewhat
demoralizing, enabling them while idle to live in comfort.--ED.

[97] For the Ponca see our volume v, p. 96, note 63. Their migrations
have been carefully traced by J. O. Dorsey, "Omaha Sociology," in U. S.
Bureau of Ethnology _Report_, 1881-82, pp. 211-213. He does not find
that they advanced as far as the Red River of the North--Pipestone,
Minnesota, was the northern limit of their wanderings. On their
Nebraska history and their harrying by the Sioux, see J. A. Barnett,
"Poncas," in Nebraska Historical Society _Proceedings and Collections_,
2nd series, ii, pp. 11-25.--ED.

[98] For the Pawnee see our volumes vi, p. 61, note 17; and xiv, p.
233, note 179. A visit to their villages is related in our volume xv,
pp. 143-165. The treaty here described was drawn up at the Pawnee
village in 1833 by Commissioner Henry L. Ellsworth, the payments being
in return for a cession of all their claims south of the Platte. See
also De Smet's _Letters_ in our volume xxvii, pp. 207, 208, 210, notes

[99] The Karankawa (Carancahua) were a tribe of Texan Indians whose
habitat was the bays and river-openings of the coast south and west
from Galveston. They were first known to Europeans through contact with
La Salle's colonists, whose remnant they captured. In the eighteenth
century the Spanish attempted several missions to this people, but
without much success; their contact with whites appeared to have made
them more sanguinary and ferocious, and increased their tendencies to
cannibalism. Bad treatment by Lafitte's pirate colony made them hostile
to the Austin settlers, who in 1825 rallied and inflicted upon them a
severe defeat. They made part of the Mexican army in the attack on the
Alamo, and after the conclusion of the war kept peace with the Texans
through fear of the latter's revenge. Successive hostilities, however,
weakened their strength and numbers, and after 1836 the few survivors
took refuge in Mexico. There a remnant existed for some years, an
attack upon them by some rancheros of Texas, in revenge for robbery,
being noted as late as 1858. The tribe is now extinct, but a vocabulary
and a knowledge of their manners and customs have been preserved.
Consult Peabody Museum of American Archæology and Ethnology, Harvard
University, _Papers_ (Cambridge, 1891), i, no. 2.--ED.

[100] For the Comanche see our volume xvi, p. 233, note 109; also
xviii, pp. 65-71; and xx, pp. 342-352. These "Arabs of the Plains" were
first met by Louisiana colonists in 1699. They had already adopted
the horse, and become skillful riders. On the borders of Mexican and
American settlements, they alternately made depredations upon each,
as suited their purposes. The frontiers of Texas were long harried by
their raiding parties. It was not until 1875 that the last hostile band
surrendered, and was settled on the Wichita reservation in Oklahoma,
where they are still watched by troops stationed at Fort Sill. They
are, however, becoming sedentary, most of their land now being

[101] For the Knistineaux (Cree) Indians see our volume ii, p. 168,
note 75. Mackenzie is sketched in Franchère's _Narrative_, our volume
vi, p. 185, note 4.--ED.

[102] Farnham here quotes from Z. M. Pike, _Account of Expeditions to
the Sources of the Mississippi River and through the Western Parts of
Louisiana_ (Baltimore, 1810). See Coues's edition (New York, 1895), pp.
348-350. Our author has not noted the more detailed boundary arranged
by the treaty (1825) at Prairie du Chien, under the supervision of
William Clark and Lewis Cass, with Sioux, Chippewa, Sauk and Foxes,
Iowa, etc.; this stood for years as the standard limit for the Sioux

Rivière de Corbeau was the present Crow Wing River, in upper Minnesota.
Rising in Hubbard County, flowing through Wadena, and forming the
boundary between Cass, Todd, and Morrison counties, it enters the
Mississippi opposite the town of Crow Wing. By means of this river,
there was reached a famous portage to Red River of the North; its
affluent Leaf River was followed to a carrying trail leading over to
Otter Tail Lake, one of the sources of the Red.

For the St. Peter's see our volume xxii, p. 342, note 315.--ED.

[103] Rum River was so designated by Carver in 1767, and is the river
which Father Louis Hennepin nearly a hundred years earlier designated
River St. Francis. It is the outlet of Mille Lacs, flows south and
south-east, and unites with the Mississippi at Anoka.--ED.

[104] Farnham's classification of the Dakota bands is quite correct;
see our volume xxii, pp. 278, 305, 326, notes 235, 263, 287. He follows
Pike in his spelling of several of the tribal names, and Lewis and
Clark in naming the Teton bands.

For the location of the Arikara villages see our volume v, p. 127, note

[105] For wild rice, called by the French _folle avoine_ (Latin
equivalent, _avena fatua_) see Franchère's _Narrative_, our volume vi,
p. 384, note 205, and reference therein cited.--ED.

[106] For Jonathan Carver see J. Long's _Voyages_, in our volume
ii, p. 30, note 5. Recent investigation throws much doubt upon the
authenticity of Carver's work, although it is probable that he made
the journey up St. Peter's River; see Wisconsin Historical Society,
_Bulletin of Information_, no. 24 (January, 1905); also _American
Historical Review_, xi, pp. 287-302.--ED.

[107] For the Assiniboin, and their revolt from the Sioux, see
Maximilian's _Travels_, in our volume xxii, p. 370, note 346.--ED.

[108] The Chippewayan and Chippewa belong to two distinct Indian
families. The former are of Athabascan (or Tinneh) stock, and range
from Hudson Bay to the Pacific, and from the Saskatchewan to the
Arctic. The Chippewa (Ojibwa, Saulteurs, see our volume ii, p. 79,
note 38) are the largest and most important branch of the Algonquian
family, first being encountered by the French at the outlet of Lake
Superior. According to tradition, their original habitat was the St.
Lawrence, whence they passed slowly westward to the Great Lakes. At
Lake Superior they divided, one portion going north and west to Lake
Winnipeg, the other following the southern shore of the lake. For many
years their chief settlement was at La Pointe on Chequamegon Bay. As
allies of the French they joined in the French and Indian War and in
Pontiac's Conspiracy--see J. Bain (ed.), _Alexander Henry's Travels_
(Boston, 1901), pp. 79-106. They also aided the English in the American
Revolution and the War of 1812-15. In the eighteenth century they drove
the Sioux from the upper waters of the Mississippi, and the band known
as Pillagers established themselves on Leach Lake. For the boundary
between them and the Sioux see _ante_, p. 152, note 98. See _Minnesota
Historical Collections_, v, for complete history of this tribe. In
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, there are still about twenty
thousand of these people, besides a large number in Canada.--ED.

[109] Tripe de roche, for which see our volume ii, p. 156, note 70.--ED.

[110] Consult W. J. Hoffman, "The Midewiwin or Grand Medicine Society
of the Ojibwa," in Bureau of Ethnology _Report_, 1885-86, pp.


  Fort William--its Structure, Owners, People, Animals,
    Business, Adventures, and Hazards--A Division--A March--Fort
    el Puebla--Trappers and Whisky--A Genius--An Adventurous
    Iroquois--A Kentuckian--Horses and Servant--A Trade--A
    Start--Arkansas and Country--Wolfano Mountains--Creeks--Rio
    Wolfano--A Plague of Egypt--Cordilleras--James's Peak--Pike's
    Peak--A Bath--The Prison of the Arkansas--Entrance of the Rocky
    Mountains--A Vale.

Fort William, or Bent's Fort, on the north side of the Arkansas, eighty
miles north by east from Taos in the Mexican dominions, and about one
hundred and sixty miles from the mountains, was erected by gentlemen
owners in 1832, for purposes of trade with the Spaniards of Santa Fé
and Taos, and the Eutaw, Cheyenne and Cumanche Indians. It is in the
form of a parallelogram, the northern and southern sides of which are
about a hundred and fifty feet, and the eastern and western a hundred
feet in length. The walls are six or seven feet in thickness at the
base, and seventeen or eighteen feet in height. The fort is entered
through {174} a large gateway on the eastern side, in which swing a
pair of immense plank doors. At the north-west and south-east corners
stand two cylindrical bastions, about ten feet in diameter and thirty
feet in height.

These are properly perforated for the use of cannon and small arms;
and command the fort and the plains around it. The interior area is
divided into two parts. The one and the larger of them occupies the
north-eastern portion. It is nearly a square. A range of two-story
houses, the well, and the blacksmith's shop are on the north side; on
the west and south are ranges of one-story houses; on the east the
blacksmith's shop, the gate and the outer wall. This is the place of
business. Here the owners and their servants have their sleeping and
cooking apartments, and here are the storehouses. In this area the
Indians in the season of trade gather in large numbers and barter,
and trade, and buy, under the guardianship of the carronades of the
bastions loaded with grape, and looking upon them. From this area a
passage leads between the eastern outer wall and the one-story houses,
to the caral or cavy-yard, which occupies the remainder of the space
within the walls. This is the {175} place for the horses, mules, &c.,
to repose in safety from Indian depredations at night. Beyond the
caral to the west and adjoining the wall, is the waggon-house. It is
strongly built, and large enough to shelter twelve or fifteen of those
large vehicles which are used in conveying the peltries to St. Louis,
and goods thence to the post. The long drought of summer renders it
necessary to protect them from the sun.

The walls of the fort, its bastions and houses, are constructed
of adobies or unburnt bricks, cemented together with a mortar of
clay. The lower floors of the building are made of clay, a little
moistened and beaten hard with large wooden mallets; the upper floors
of the two-story houses and the roofs of all are made in the same
way and of the same material, and are supported by heavy transverse
timbers covered with brush. The tops of the houses being flat and
gravelled, furnish a fine promenade in the moonlight evenings of that
charming climate. The number of men employed in the business of this
establishment is supposed to be about sixty. Fifteen or twenty of
them in charge of one of the owners, are employed in taking to market
the buffalo robes, &c., which are gathered at the fort, {176} and in
bringing back with them new stocks of goods for future purchases.
Another party is employed in hunting buffalo meat in the neighbouring
plains; and another in guarding the animals while they cut their daily
food on the banks of the river. Others, under command of an experienced
trader, goes into some distant Indian camp to trade. One or more of
the owners, and one or another of these parties which chances to be at
the post, defend it and trade, keep the books of the company, &c. Each
of these parties encounters dangers and hardships, from which persons
within the borders of civilization would shrink.

The country in which the fort is situated is in a manner the common
field of several tribes, unfriendly alike to one another and the
whites. The Eutaws and Cheyennes[111] of the mountains near Santa Fé,
and the Pawnees of the great Platte, come to the Upper Arkansas to meet
the buffalo in their annual migrations to the north; and on the trail
of these animals follow up the Cumanches. And thus in the months of
June, August, and September, there are in the neighbourhood of these
traders from fifteen to twenty thousand savages ready and panting for
{177} plunder and blood. If they engage in battling out old causes of
contention among themselves, the Messrs. Bents feel comparatively safe
in their solitary fortress. But if they spare each other's property and
lives, they occasion great anxieties at Fort William; every hour of day
and night is pregnant with danger. These untameable savages may drive
beyond reach the buffalo on which the garrison subsists; may begirt the
fort with their legions, and cut off supplies; may prevent them from
feeding their animals upon the plains; may bring upon them starvation
and the gnawing their own flesh at the door of death! All these are
expectations, which as yet the ignorance alone of the Indians as to the
weakness of the post, prevents from becoming realities. But at what
moment some chieftain or white desperado may give them the requisite
knowledge, is an uncertainty which occasions at Fort William many
well-grounded fears for life and property.

Instances of the daring intrepidity of the Cumanches which occurred
just before and after my arrival here, will serve to show the hazards
and dangers of which I have spoken. About the middle of June, 1839,
a band of sixty of them, under cover of {178} night, crossed the
river, and concealed themselves among the bushes growing thickly on
the bank near the place where the animals of the establishment feed
during the day. No sentinel being on duty at the time, their presence
was unobserved; and when morning came the Mexican horse-guard mounted
his horse, and with the noise and shouting usual with that class of
servants when so employed, drove his charge out of the fort, and riding
rapidly from side to side of the rear of the band, urged them on, and
soon had them nibbling the short dry grass in a little vale within
grape-shot distance of the guns of the bastions. It is customary for a
guard of animals about these trading-posts to take his station beyond
his charge; and if they stray from each other, or attempt to stroll too
far, to drive them together, and thus keep them in the best possible
situation to be hurried hastily to the caral, should the Indians, or
other evil persons, swoop down upon them. As there is constant danger
of this, his horse is held by a long rope and grazes around him, that
he may be mounted quickly, at the first alarm, for a retreat within the
walls. The faithful guard at Bent's, on the morning of the disaster
{179} I am relating, had dismounted after driving out his animals, and
sat upon the ground, watching with the greatest fidelity for every
call of duty, when these fifty or sixty Indians sprang from their
hiding-places, ran upon the animals, yelling horribly, and attempted
to drive them across the river. The guard, however, nothing daunted,
mounted quickly, and drove his horse at full speed among them. The
mules and horses hearing his voice amidst the frightening yells of the
savages, immediately started at a lively pace for the fort; but the
Indians were on all sides, and bewildered them. The guard still pressed
them onward, and called for help; and on they rushed, despite the
efforts of the Indians to the contrary. The battlements were covered
with men. They shouted encouragement to the brave guard--"Onward!
onward!" and the injunction was obeyed. He spurred his horse to his
greatest speed from side to side, and whipped the hindermost of the
band with his leading rope. He had saved every animal; he was within
twenty yards of the open gate; he fell; three arrows from the bows
of the Cumanches had cloven his heart. Relieved of him, the lords of
the quiver gathered {180} their prey, and drove them to the borders
of Texas, without injury to life or limb. I saw this faithful guard's
grave. He had been buried a few days. The wolves had been digging into
it. Thus forty or fifty mules and horses, and their best servant's
life, were lost to the Messrs. Bents in a single day. I have been
informed also that those horses and mules, which my company had taken
great pleasure in recovering for them in the plains, were also stolen
in a similar manner soon after my departure from the post; and that
gentlemen owners were in hourly expectation of an attack upon the fort

The same liability to the loss of life and property attends the trading
expeditions to the encampments of the tribes.

An anecdote of this service was related to me. An old trapper was
sent from this fort to the Eutaw camp, with a well-assorted stock of
goods, and a body of men to guard it. After a tedious march among the
snows and swollen streams and declivities of the mountain, he came in
sight of the village. It was situated in a sunken valley, among the
hideously dark cliffs of the Eutaw mountains; and so small was it, and
so deep, that the overhanging heights {181} not only protected it from
the blasts of approaching winter, but drew to their frozen embrace the
falling snows, and left this valley its grasses and flowers, while
their own awful heads were glittering with perpetual frosts.

The traders encamped upon a small swell of land that overlooked the
smoking wigwams, and sent a deputation to the chiefs to parley for
the privilege of opening a trade with the tribe. They were received
with great haughtiness by those monarchs of the wilderness, and were
asked "why they had dared to enter the Eutaw mountains without their
permission." Being answered that they "had travelled from the fort
to that place, in order to ask their highnesses' permission to trade
with the Eutaws," the principal chief replied, that no permission
had been given to them to come there, nor to remain. The interview
ended, and the traders returned to their camp with no very pleasant
anticipations as to the result of their expedition. Their baggage was
placed about for breastworks; their animals drawn in nearer, and tied
firmly to stakes; and a patrol guard stationed, as the evening shut in.
Every preparation for the attack, which appeared determined upon on
the part of the Indians, being {182} made, they waited for the first
ray of day--a signal of dreadful havoc among all the tribes--with the
determined anxiety which fills the bosom, sharpens the sight, nerves
the arm, and opens the ear to the slightest rustle of a leaf, so
remarkably, among the grave, self-possessed, and brave traders of the
Great Prairie and Mountain Wilderness.

During the first part of the night the Indians hurrying to and fro
through the village, their war speeches and war dances, and the
painting their faces with red and black, in alternate stripes, and an
occasional scout warily approaching the camp of the whites, indicated
an appetite for a conflict that appeared to fix, with prophetic
certainty, the fate of the traders. Eight hundred Indians to fifty
whites, made fearful odds. The morning light streamed faintly up the
east at last. The traders held their rifles with the grasp of dying
men. Another and another beam kindled on the dark blue vault, and
one by one quenched the stars. The silence of the tomb rested on the
world. They breathed heavily, with teeth set in terrible resolution.
The hour--the moment--had arrived! Behind a projecting ledge, the dusky
forms of three or four hundred Eutaws undulated near the ground, like
herds {183} of bears intent on their prey. They approached the ledge,
and for an instant lay flat on their faces, and motionless. Two or
three of them gently raised their heads high enough to look over upon
the camp of the whites.

The day had broken over half the firmament; the rifles of the traders
were levelled from behind the baggage, and glistened faintly; a
crack--a whoop--a shout--a rout! The scalp of one of the peepers
over the ledge had been bored by the whistling lead from one of
the rifles--the chief warrior had fallen. The Indians retreated to
their camp, and the whites retained their position, each watching
the others movements. The position of the traders was such as could
command the country within long rifle-shot on all sides; the Indians,
therefore, declined an attack. The number of their foes, and perhaps
some prudential consideration as to having an advantageous location,
prevented the traders from making an assault. Well would it have
been for them had they continued to be careful. About nine o'clock,
the warlike appearance gave place to signs of peace. Thirty or forty
unarmed Indians, denuded of clothing and of paint, came towards the
{184} camp of the traders, singing and dancing, and bearing the Sacred
Calumet, or Great Pipe of Peace. A chief bore it who had acted as
lieutenant to the warrior that had been shot. Its red marble bowl, its
stem broad and long, and carved into hieroglyphics of various colours
and significations, and adorned with feathers of beautiful birds,
was soon recognized by the traders, and secured the bearer and his
attendants a reception into their camp. Both parties seated themselves
in a great circle; the pipe was filled with tobacco and herbs from the
venerated medicine bag; the well-kindled coal was reverently placed
upon the bowl; its sacred stem was then turned towards the heavens,
to invite the Great Spirit to the solemn assembly, and to implore his
aid; it was then turned towards the earth, to avert the influence of
malicious demons; it was then borne in a horizontal position, till
it completed a circle, to call to their help in the great smoke, the
beneficent invisible agents which live on the earth, in the waters,
and the upper air; the chief took two whiffs, and blew the smoke
first towards heaven, and then round upon the ground; and so did
others, until all had inhaled the smoke--the breath of Indian {185}
fidelity--and blown it to the earth and heaven, loaded with the pious
vows that are supposed to mingle with it while it curls among the lungs
near the heart. The chief then rose and said, in the Spanish language,
which the Eutaws east of the mountains speak well, "that he was anxious
that peace might be restored between the parties; that himself and
people were desirous that the traders should remain with them; and
that if presents were made to him to the small amount of £140, no
objection would remain to the proposed proceedings of the whites; but
on no account could they enter the Eutaw country without paying tribute
in some form. They were in the Eutaw country, the tribute was due,
they had killed a Eutaw chief, and the blood of a chief was due; but
that the latter could be compromised by a prompt compliance with his
proposition in regard to the presents."

The chief trader was explicit in his reply. "That he had come into the
country to sell goods, not to give them away; that no tribute could
be paid to him or to any other Eutaw; and that if fighting were a
desideratum with the chief and his people, he would do his part to make
{186} it sufficiently lively to be interesting." The council broke up
tumultuously. The Indians carried back the wampum belts to their camp,
held war councils, and whipt and danced around posts painted red, and
recounted their deeds of valour, and showed high in air, as they leaped
in the frenzy of mimic warfare, the store of scalps that garnished the
doors of the family lodges; and around their camp-fires the following
night were seen features distorted with the most ghastly wrath. Indeed,
the savages appeared resolved to destroy the whites. And as they were
able, by their superior numbers to do so, it was deemed advisable to
get beyond their reach, with all practicable haste.

At midnight, therefore, when the fires had smouldered low, the traders
saddled in silent haste, bound their bales upon their pack-mules, and
departed while the wolves were howling the hour; and succeeded by the
dawn of day in reaching a gorge where they had expected the Indians (if
they had discovered their departure in season to reach it) would oppose
their retreat. On reconnoitering, however, it was found clear; and
with joy they entered the defile, and beheld from its eastern opening,
the wide cold plains, and the sun rising, red and cheerful, {187} on
the distant outline of the morning sky. A few days after, they reached
the post--not a little glad that their flesh was not rotting with many
who had been less successful than themselves, in escaping death at the
hands of the Eutaws. For the insults, robberies, and murders, committed
by this and other tribes, the traders Bents have sought opportunities
to take well-measured vengeance: and liberally and bravely have
they often dealt it out. But the consequence seems to have been the
exciting of the bitterest enmity between the parties; which results in
a little more inconvenience to the traders than to the Indians; for
the latter, to gratify their propensity to steal, and their hatred to
the former, make an annual levy upon the cavy-yard of the fortress,
which, as it contains usually from eighty to one hundred horses,
mules, &c., furnishes to the men of the tomahawk a very comfortable
and satisfactory retribution for the inhibition of the owners of them
upon their immemorial right to rob and murder, in manner and form as
prescribed by the customs of their race.

The business within the walls of the post is done by clerks and
traders. The former of these are more commonly young gentlemen {188}
from the cities of the States; their duty is to keep the books of
the establishment. The traders are generally selected from among
those daring individuals who have traversed the Prairie and Mountain
Wilderness with goods or traps, and understand the best mode of dealing
with the Indians. Their duty is to weigh sugar, coffee, powder, &c., in
a Connecticut pint-cup; and measure red baize, beads, &c., and speak
the several Indian languages that have a name for beaver skins, buffalo
robes, and money. They are as fine fellows as can anywhere be found.

Fort William is owned by three brothers, by the name of Bent, from
St. Louis. Two of them were at the post when we arrived. They seemed
to be thoroughly initiated into Indian life; dressed like chiefs--in
moccasins thoroughly garnished with beads and porcupine quills; in
trousers of deer skin, with long fringes of the same extending along
the outer seam from the ankle to the hip; in the splendid hunting-shirt
of the same material, with sleeves fringed on the elbow seam from the
wrist to the shoulder, and ornamented with figures of porcupine quills
of various colours, and leathern fringe around the lower edge of the
body. And {189} chiefs they were in the authority exercised in their
wild and lonely fortress.

A trading establishment to be known must be seen. A solitary abode of
men, seeking wealth in the teeth of danger and hardship, rearing its
towers over the uncultivated wastes of nature, like an old baronial
castle that has withstood the wars and desolations of centuries; Indian
women tripping around its battlements in their glittering moccasins
and long deer skin wrappers; their children, with most perfect forms,
and the carnation of the Saxon cheek struggling through the shading
of the Indian, and chattering now Indian, and now Spanish or English;
the grave owners and their clerks and traders, seated in the shade
of the piazza, smoking the long native pipe, passing it from one to
another, drawing the precious smoke into the lungs by short hysterical
sucks till filled, and then ejecting it through the nostrils; or it may
be, seated around their rude table, spread with coffee or tea, jerked
buffalo meat, and bread made of unbolted wheaten meal from Taos; or,
after eating, laid comfortably upon their pallets of straw and Spanish
blankets, and dreaming to the sweet notes of a flute; the old trappers
withered with {190} exposure to the rending elements, the half-tamed
Indian, and half civilized Mexican servants, seated on the ground
around a large tin pan of dry meat, and a tankard of water, their only
rations, relating adventures about the shores of Hudson's Bay, on the
rivers Columbia and Mackenzie, in the Great Prairie Wilderness, and
among the snowy heights of the mountains; and delivering sage opinions
about the destination of certain bands of buffalo; of the distance to
the Blackfoot country, and whether my wounded man was hurt as badly
as Bill the mule was, when the "meal party" was fired upon by the
Cumanches--present a tolerable idea of every thing within its walls.

If we add, the opening of the gates on a winter's morning--the cautious
sliding in and out of the Indians whose tents stand around the fort,
till the whole area is filled six feet deep with their long hanging
black locks, and dark watchful flashing eyes; and traders and clerks
busy at their work; and the patrols walking the battlements with loaded
muskets; and the guards in the bastions standing with burning matches
by the carronades; and when the sun sets, the Indians retiring again to
their camp outside, to talk over their newly purchased blankets {191}
and beads, and to sing and drink and dance; and the night sentinel on
the fort that treads his weary watch away; we shall present a tolerable
view of this post in the season of business.

It was summer time with man and beast when I was there. The fine days
spent in the enjoyment of its hospitalities were of great service to
ourselves, and in recruiting our jaded animals. The man, too, who had
been wounded on the Santa Fé trade, recovered astonishingly.

The mutineers, on the 11th of July, started for Bent's Fort, on the
Platte;[112] and myself, with three sound and good men, and one
wounded and bad one, strode our animals and took trail again for the
mountains and Oregon Territory. Five miles above Fort William, we
came to Fort El Puebla. It is constructed of adobies, and consists
of a series of one-story houses built around a quadrangle, in the
general style of those at Fort William. It belongs to a company of
American and Mexican trappers, who, wearied with the service, have
retired to this spot to spend the remainder of their days in raising
grain, vegetables, horses, mules, &c., for the various {192} trading
establishments in these regions. And as the Arkansas, some four miles
above the post, can be turned from its course over large tracts of rich
land, these individuals might realize the happiest results from their
industry;--for, as it is impossible, from the looseness of the soil and
the scarcity of rain, to raise any thing thereabout without irrigation;
and, as this is the only spot, for a long distance up and down the
Arkansas, where any considerable tracts of land can be watered,
they could supply the market with these articles without any fear of

But these, like the results of many honest intentions, are wholly
crippled by want of capital and a superabundance of whisky. The
proprietors are poor, and when the keg is on tap, dream away their
existence under its dangerous fascinations. Hence it is that these
men, destitute of the means to carry out their designs in regard to
farming, have found themselves not wholly unemployed in drunkenness;
a substitute which many other individuals have before been known to
prefer. They have, however, a small stock; consisting of horses and
mules, cattle, sheep, and goats; and still maintain their original
intention of irrigating and cultivating {193} the land in the vicinity
of their establishment.

We arrived here about four o'clock in the afternoon; and, being
desirous of purchasing a horse for one of the men, and making some
farther arrangements for my journey, I determined to stop for the
night. At this place I found a number of independent trappers, who
after the spring-hunt had come down from the mountains, taken rooms
free of rent, stored their fur, and opened a trade for whisky. One
skin, valued at four dollars, buys in that market one pint of whisky;
no more, no less. Unless, indeed, some theorists in the vanity of their
dogmas, may consider it less, when plentifully mollified with water; a
process that increases in value, as the faucet falters in the energy
of its action; for the seller knows, that if the pure liquid should
so mollify the whisky, as to delay the hopes of merriment too long,
another beaver-skin will be taken from the jolly trapper's pack, and
another quantity of the joyful mixture obtained. Thus matters will
proceed, until the stores of furs, the hardships of the hunt, the
toils and exposures of trapping, the icy streams of the wilderness,
the bloody fight, foot to foot, with the knife and tomahawk, {194} and
the long days and nights of thirst and starvation are satisfactorily
cancelled in the dreamy felicity which whisky, rum, gin, brandy and
ipecacuanha, if properly administered, are accustomed to produce.

One of these trappers was from New Hampshire; he had been educated at
Dartmouth College, and was altogether one of the most remarkable men
I ever knew. A splendid gentleman, a finished scholar, a critic on
English and Roman literature, a politician, a trapper, an Indian! His
stature was something more than six feet; his shoulders and chest were
broad, and his arms and lower limbs well formed, and very muscular. His
forehead was high and expansive; Causality, Comparison, Eventuality,
and all the perceptive organs, (to use a phrenological description),
remarkably large. Locality was, however, larger than any other organ
in the frontal region. Benevolence, Wonder, Ideality, Secretiveness,
Destructiveness, and Adhesiveness, Combativeness, Self-Esteem and Hope
were very high. The remaining organs were low. His head was clothed
with hair as black as jet, two and a half feet in length, smoothly
combed, and hanging down his back. He {195} was dressed in a deer-skin
frock, leggings and moccasins; not a shred of cloth about his person.
On my first interview with him, he addressed me with the stiff, cold
formality of one conscious of his own importance; and, in a manner
that he thought unobserved, scrutinized the movement of every muscle
of my face, and every word which I uttered. When any thing was said of
political events in the States or Europe, he gave silent and intense

I left him without any very good impressions of his character; for I
had induced him to open his compressed mouth but once, and then to make
the no very agreeable inquiries, "When do you start?" and "What route
do you take?" At my second interview, he was more familiar. Having
ascertained that he was proud of his learning, I approached him through
that medium. He seemed pleased at this compliment to his superiority
over those around him, and at once became easy and talkative. His "Alma
Mater" was described and redescribed; all the fields, and walks, and
rivulets, the beautiful Connecticut, the evergreen primitive ridges
lying along its banks, which, he said, "had smiled for a thousand
ages on the march of decay;" were successive {196} themes of his vast
imagination. His descriptions were minute and exquisite. He saw in
every thing all that Science sees, together with all that his capacious
intellect, instructed and imbued with the wild fancyings and legends
of his race, could see. I inquired the reason of his leaving civilized
life for a precarious livelihood in the wilderness. "For reasons found
in the nature of my race," he replied. "The Indian's eye cannot be
satisfied with a description of things, how beautiful soever may be
the style, or the harmonies of verse in which it is conveyed. For
neither the periods of burning eloquence, nor the mighty and beautiful
creations of the imagination, can unbosom the treasures and realities
as they live in their own native magnificence on the eternal mountains,
and in the secret, untrodden vale.

"As soon as you thrust the ploughshare under the earth, it teems with
worms and useless weeds. It increases population to an unnatural
extent; creates the necessity of penal enactments, builds the jail,
erects the gallows, spreads over the human face a mask of deception
and selfishness, and substitutes villany, love of wealth and power,
and the slaughter of millions for the gratification {197} of some
individual instead of the single-minded honesty, the hospitality, the
honour and the purity of the natural state. Hence, wherever Agriculture
appears, the increase of moral and physical wretchedness induces the
thousands of necessities, as they are termed, for abridging human
liberty; for fettering down the mind to the principles of right,
derived, not from nature, but from a restrained and forced condition
of existence. And hence my race, with mental and physical habits as
free as the waters which flow from the hills, become restive under the
rules of civilized life; dwindle to their graves under the control of
laws, customs, and forms, which have grown out of the endless vices,
and the factitious virtue of another race. Red men often acquire and
love the Sciences. But with the nature which the Great Spirit has given
them, what are all their truths to them? Would an Indian ever measure
the height of a mountain that he could climb? No, never. The legends of
his tribe tell him nothing about quadrants, and base lines and angles.
Their old braves, however, have for ages watched from the cliffs, the
green life in the spring, and the yellow death in the autumn, of their
holy forests. Why should he ever calculate an eclipse? He {198} always
knew such occurrences to be the doings of the Great Spirit.

"Science, it is true, can tell the times and seasons of their coming;
but the Indian, when they do occur, looks through nature, without the
aid of science, up to its cause. Of what use is a Lunar to him? His
swift canoe has the green embowered shores, and well-known headlands,
to guide its course. In fine, what are the arts of peace, of war,
of agriculture, or any thing civilized, to him? His nature and its
elements, like the pine which shadows its wigwam, are too mighty, too
grand, of too strong a fibre, to form a stock on which to engraft the
rose or the violet of polished life. No. I must range the hills, I
must always be able to out-travel my horses, I must always be able to
strip my own wardrobe from the backs of the deer and buffalo, and to
feed upon their rich loins; I must always be able to punish my enemy
with my own hand, or I am no longer an Indian. And if I am any thing
else, I am a mere imitation of an ape."

The enthusiasm with which these sentiments were uttered impressed me
with an awe I had never previously felt for the unborrowed dignity and
independence of the genuine, original character {199} of the American
Indians. Enfeebled, and reduced to a state of dependence by disease and
the crowding hosts of civilized men, we find among them still, too much
of their own, to adopt the character of another race, too much bravery
to feel like a conquered people, and a preference of annihilation to
the abandonment of that course of life, consecrated by a thousand
generations of venerated ancestors.

This Indian has been trapping among the Rocky Mountains for seventeen
years. During that time, he has been often employed as an express to
carry news from one trading post to another, and from the mountains to
Missouri. In these journeys he has been remarkable for the directness
of his courses, and the exceedingly short space of time required to
accomplish them. Mountains which neither Indian nor white man dared
attempt to scale, if opposing his right-line track, he has crossed.
Angry streams, heavy and cold from the snows, and plunging and roaring
among the girding caverns of the hills, he has swum; he has met the
tempest as it groaned over the plains, and hung upon the trembling
towers of the everlasting hills; and without a horse, or even a dog,
traversed often the terrible and boundless wastes of mountains, {200}
and plains, and desert valleys, through which I am travelling; and the
ruder the blast, the larger the bolts, and the louder the peals of the
dreadful tempest, when the earth and the sky seem joined by a moving
cataract of flood and flame driven by the wind, the more was it like
himself, a free, unmarred manifestation of the sublime energies of
nature. He says that he never intends again to visit the States, or any
other part of the earth "which has been torn and spoiled by the slaves
of agriculture." "I shall live," said he, "and die in the wilderness."
And assuredly he should thus live and die. The music of the rushing
waters should be his requiem, and the Great Wilderness his tomb.

Another of these peculiar men was an Iroquois from Canada; a stout,
old man, with a flat nose, broad face, small twinkling black eyes,
a swarthy, dirty complexion, a mouth that laughed from ear to ear.
He was always relating some wonderful tale of a trapper's life, and
was particularly fond of describing his escapes from the Sioux and
Blackfeet, while in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. On one
occasion he had separated from his fellow-trappers and travelled far
up the Missouri {201} into a particularly beautiful valley. It was the
very spot he had sought in all his wanderings, as a retreat for himself
and his squaw to live in till they should die. It appeared to him like
the gateway to the Isles of the Blest. The lower mountains were covered
with tall pines, and above and around, except in the east, where the
morning sun sent in his rays, the bright glittering ridges rose high
against the sky, decked in the garniture of perpetual frosts. Along the
valley lay a clear, pure lake, in the centre of which played a number
of fountains, that threw their waters many feet above its surface,
and sending tiny waves rippling away to the pebbly shores, made the
mountains and groves that were reflected from its rich bosom seem to
leap and clap their hands for joy, at the sacred quiet that reigned
among them.

The old Indian pitched his skin tent on the shore, in a little copse
of hemlock, and set his traps. Having done this, he explored carefully
every part of the neighbouring mountains for ingress and egress,
"signs," &c. His object in this was to ascertain if the valley were
frequented by human beings; and if there were places of escape, should
it be entered by hostile persons {202} through the pass that led
himself to it. He found no other pass, except one for the waters of the
lake through a deep chasm of the mountain; and this was such that no
one could descend it alive to the lower valleys. For as he waded and
swam by turns down its still waters, he soon found himself drawn by an
increasing current, which sufficiently indicated to him the cause of
the deep roar that resounded from the caverns beyond. He accordingly
made the shore, and climbed along among the projecting rocks till he
overlooked an abyss of fallen rocks, into which the stream poured and
foamed and was lost in the mist. He returned to his camp satisfied. He
had found an undiscovered valley, stored with beaver and trout, and
grass for his horses, where he could trap and fish and dream awhile in
safety. And every morning, for three delightful weeks, did he draw the
beaver from the deep pools into which they had plunged when the quick
trap had seized them, and stringing them two and two together over
his pack-horse, bore them to his camp; and with his long side-knife
stripped off the skins of fur, pinned them to the ground to dry, and
in his camp kettle cooked the much-prized tails for his mid-day {203}
repast. "Was it not a fine hunt that?" asked he; "beaver as thick as
musquitoes, trout as plenty as water. But the ungodly Blackfeet!"
The sun had thrown a few bright rays upon the rim of the eastern
firmament, when the Blackfeet war-whoop rang around his tent--a direful
"whoop-ah-hooh," ending with a yell, piercing harsh and shrill, through
the clenched teeth. He had but one means of escape--the lake. Into it
he plunged, beneath a shower of poisoned arrows--plunged deeply--and
swam under while he could endure the absence of air; he rose, he was in
the midst of his foes swimming and shouting around him; down again, up
to breathe, and on he swam with long and powerful sweeps. The pursuit
was long, but at last our man entered the chasm he had explored,
plunged along the cascade as near as he dared, clung to a shrub that
grew from the crevice of the rock, and lay under water for the approach
of his pursuers. On they came, they passed, they shrieked and plunged
for ever into the abyss of mist.

Another individual of these veteran trappers was my guide, Kelly, a
blacksmith by trade, from Kentucky. He left his native State about
twelve years ago, and entered {204} the service of the American Fur
Company. Since that time, he has been in the States but once, and that
for a few weeks only. In his opinion, every thing was so dull and
tiresome that he was compelled to fly to the mountains again. The food,
too, had well nigh killed him: "The villanous pies and cake, bacon
and beef, and the nicknacks that one is obliged to eat among cousins,
would destroy the constitution of an ostrich." And if he could eat such
stuff, he said he had been so long away from civilization that he could
never again enjoy it. As long as he could get good buffalo cows to eat,
the fine water of the snowy hills to drink, and good buckskins to wear,
he was satisfied. The mountaineers were free; he could go and come when
he chose, with only his own will for law.

My intercourse with him, however, led me afterwards to assign another
cause for his abandonment of home. There were times when we were
encamped at night on the cold mountains about a blazing fire, that he
related anecdotes of his younger days with an intensity of feeling
which discovered that a deep fountain of emotion was still open in his
bosom, never to be sealed till he slumber under the sands of the desert.

{205} We passed the night of the 11th of July at the Puebla. One of
my companions who had, previously to the division of my company, used
horses belonging to an individual who left us for Santa Fé, and the
excellent Mr. Blair, were without riding animals. It became, therefore,
an object for them to purchase here; and the more so, as there would
be no other opportunity to do so for some hundreds of miles. But these
individuals had no money nor goods that the owners of the horses would
receive in exchange. They wanted clothing or cash, and as I had a
surplus quantity of linen, I began to bargain for one of the animals.
The first price charged was enormous. A little bantering, however,
brought the owner to his proper senses; and the articles of payment
were overhauled. In doing this, my whole wardrobe was exposed, and
the vendor of horses became extremely enamoured of my dress-coat,
the only one remaining, not out at the elbows. This he determined to
have. I assured him it was impossible for me to part with it; the
only one I possessed. But he, with quite as much coolness, assured
me that it would then be impossible for him to part with his horse.
These two {206} impossibilities having met, all prospects of a trade
were suspended, till one or the other of them should yield. After a
little, the idea of walking cast such evident dissatisfaction over the
countenances of my friends, that the coat was yielded, and then the
pants and overcoat, and all my shirts save four, and various other
articles to the value of three such animals in the States. The horse
was then transferred to our keeping. And such a horse! The biography
of her mischief, would fill a volume! and that of the vexations
arising therefrom to us poor mortals? Would it not fill two volumes of
"Pencillings by the Way," whose only deficiency would be the want of
a love incident? Another horse was still necessary; but in this, as in
the other case, a coat was a "sine quâ non;" and there being no other
article of the kind to dispose of among us, no bargain could be made.
The night came on amidst these our little preparations. The owners
of the horses and mules belonging to El Puebla, drove their animals
into the court or quadrangle, around which their houses were built. We
gathered our goods and chattels into a pile, in a corner of the most
comfortable room we could obtain, and so {207} arranged our blankets
and bodies, that it would be difficult for any one to make depredations
upon them during the night, without awaking us. After conversing with
my Dartmouth friend concerning the mountainous country through which
we were to travel, and the incidents of feasting and battle which had
befallen him during his trapping excursions, we retired to our couches.

At eight o'clock on the 12th, we were harnessed and on route again for
the mountains. It was a fine mellow morning. The snowy peaks of the
Wolfano mountains, one hundred and seventy miles to the south-west,
rose high and clear in view.[114] The atmosphere was bland like that
of the Indian summer in New England. Five miles' travel brought us to
the encampment of Kelly's servant, who had been sent abroad the night
before to find grass for his horses. Here another horse was purchased
of a Mexican, who had followed us from Puebla. But on adjusting our
baggage, it appeared that three animals were required for transporting
it over the broken country which lay before us. Messrs. Blair and Wood
would, therefore, still have but a single saddle horse for their joint
use. {208} This was felt to be a great misfortune, both on account
of the hardships of such a journey on foot, as well as the delay it
would necessarily cause in the prosecution of it. But these men felt no
such obstacle to be insurmountable, and declared, that while the plain
and the mountains were before them, and they could walk, they would
conquer every difficulty that lay between them and Oregon. After we had
eaten, Kelly's horses were rigged, and we moved on four or five miles
up the river, where we halted for the night. Our provisions consisted
of a small quantity of wheat meal, a little salt and pepper, and a few
pounds of sugar and coffee. For meat we depended on our rifles. But as
no game appeared during the day, we spent the evening in attempting
to take cat-fish from the Arkansas. One weighing a pound, after much
practical angling, was caught--a small consolation surely to the keen
appetites of seven men! But this, and porridge made of wheat meal and
water, constituted our supper that night and breakfast next morning.

July 13th, fifteen miles along the banks of the Arkansas; the soil
composed of sand slightly intermixed with clay, too loose to {209}
retain moisture, and too little impregnated with the nutritive salts
to produce any thing save a spare and stinted growth of bunch grass
and sun-flowers. Occasional bluffs of sand and limestone bordered the
valley of the stream. In the afternoon, the range of low mountains that
lie at the eastern base of the Great Cordilleras and Long's ranges
became visible; and even these, though pigmies in the mountain race,
were, in midsummer, partially covered with snow. Pike's peak in the
south-west, and James' peak in the north-west, at sunset showed their
hoary heads above the clouds which hung around them.[115]

On the 14th, made twenty miles. Kelly relieved his servant by
surrendering to him his riding horse for short distances; and
others relieved Blair and Wood in a similar manner. The face of the
plain became more broken as we approached the mountains. The waters
descending from the lower hills, have cut what was once a plain into
isolated bluffs three or four hundred feet in height, surmounted and
surrounded with columnar and pyramidal rocks. In the distance they
resemble immense fortresses, with towers and bastions as skilfully
arranged as they could have been by the best suggestions of {210}
art--embattlements raised by the commotions of warring elements--by the
storms that have gathered and marshalled their armies on the heights in
view, and poured their desolating power over these devoted plains!

The Arkansas, since we left Fort William, had preserved a medium width
of a quarter of a mile, the waters still turbid; its general course
east south-east; soil on either side as far as the eye could reach,
light sand and clayey loam, almost destitute of vegetation.

On the 15th travelled about eighteen miles over a soil so light that
our animals sunk over their fetlocks at every step. During the forenoon
we kept along the bottom lands of the river. An occasional willow or
cotton-wood tree, ragged and grey with age, or a willow bush trembling,
it almost seemed, at the tale of desolation that the winds told in
passing, were the only relieving features of the general dearth. The
usual colour of the soil was a greyish blue. At twelve o'clock we
stopped on a plat of low ground which the waters of the river moistened
by filtration through the sand, and baited our horses. Here were
forty or fifty decrepid old willows, so poor and shrivelled that one
felt, after enjoying {211} their shade in the heat of that sultry day,
like bestowing alms upon them. At twelve o'clock we mounted and struck
out across the plain to avoid a southward bend in the river of twenty
miles in length. Near the centre of this bend in the mouth of the river
Fontequebouir, which the trappers who have traversed it for beaver say,
rises in James' Peak eighty miles to the north-west by north.[116]

We came upon the banks of this stream at sunset. Kelly had informed
us that we might expect to find deer in the groves which border its
banks. And, like a true hunter, as soon as we halted at the place of
encampment, he sought them before they should hear or scent us. He
traversed the groves, however, in vain. The beautiful innocents had,
as it afterwards appeared, been lately hunted by a party of Delaware
trappers and in consideration of the ill usage received from these
gentlemen in red, had forsaken their old retreat for a less desirable
but safer one among the distant hills in the north. So that our
expectations of game and meat subsided in a supper of 'tole'--plain
water porridge. As our appetites were keen, we all relished it well,
except the Mexican {212} servant, who declared upon his veracity that
'tole was no bueno.' Our guide was, if possible, as happy at our
evening fire as some one else was when he "shouldered his crutch and
told how fields were won;" and very much for the same reasons. For,
during the afternoon's tramp, much of his old hunting ground had loomed
in sight. Pike's and James' peaks showed their bald, cold, shining
heads as the sun set; and the mountains on each side of the upper river
began to show the irregularities of their surfaces. So that as we rode
along gazing at these stupendous piles of rocks and earth and ice, he
would often direct his attention to the outlines of chasms, faintly
traced on the shadings of the cliffs, through which various streams
on which he had trapped, tumbled into the plains. I was particularly
interested by his account of Rio Wolfano, a branch of the Arkansas on
the Mexican side, the mouth of which is twelve miles below that of the
Fontequebouir. It has two principal branches. The one originates in
Pike's peak, seventy or eighty miles in the south; the other rises far
in the west among the Eutaw mountains, and has a course of about two
hundred miles, nearly parallel with the Arkansas.[117]

{213} We travelled twenty-eight miles on the 16th over broken barren
hills sparsely covered with shrub cedars and pines. The foliage of
these trees is a very dark green. They cover, more or less, all the low
hills that lie along the roots of the mountains from the Arkansas north
to the Missouri. Hence the name "Black Hills" is given to that portion
of them which lie between the Sweetwater and the mouth of the Little
Missouri. The soil of our track to-day was a grey barren loam, gravel
knolls and bluffs of sand and limestone.

About four o'clock, P. M., we met an unheard of annoyance. We were
crossing a small plain of red sand, gazing at the mountains as they
opened their outlines of rock and snow, when, in an instant, we were
enveloped in a cloud of flying ants with greyish wings and dark bodies.
They fixed upon our horses' heads, necks, and shoulders, in such
numbers as to cover them as bees do the sides of a hive when about to
swarm. They flew around our own heads too, and covered  our hats and
faces. Our eyes seemed special objects of their attention. We tried
to wipe them off; but while the hand was passing from one side of the
face to the other, the part that was left bare was {214} instantly
covered as thickly as before with these creeping, hovering, nauseous
insects. Our animals were so much annoyed by their pertinacity, that
they stopped in their tracks; and finding it impossible to urge them
along, guide them and keep our faces clear of the insects at the same
time, we dismounted and led them. Having by this means the free use of
our hands and feet, we were able in the course of half an hour to pass
the infested sands, and once more see and breathe.

We dined at the mouth of Kelly's Creek, another stream that has its
source in James' peak. Encamped at the mouth of Oakley's creek,
another branch of the Arkansas.[118] It rises in the hills which lie
thirty-five miles to the north. It is a clear, cool little brook, with
a pebbly bottom, and banks clothed with shrub cedars and pines. We
had a pleasant evening here, a cloudless sky, a cold breeze from the
snow-clad mountains, a blazing cedar-wood fire, a song from our merry
Joe, a dish of 'tole' and a fine couch of sand. Who wants more comforts
than we enjoyed? My debilitated system had begun to thrive under the
bracing influence of the mountain air; my companions were well and
happy; our {215} horses and mules were grazing upon a plat of rich
grass; we were almost within touch of those stupendous ridges of rock
and snow which stay or send forth the tempest in its course, and gather
in their rugged embrace the noblest rivers of the world.

July 17. We made twenty miles to-day among the deep gullies and
natural fortresses of this great gateway to the mountains. All around
gave evidence that the agents of nature have struggled here in their
mightiest wrath, not the volcano, but the floods of ages. Ravines
hundreds of feet in depth; vast insular mounds of earth towering in all
directions, sometimes surmounted by fragments of mountains, at others,
with stratified rocks, the whole range of vision was a flowerless,
bladeless desolation! Our encampment for the night was at the mouth of
Wood's creek, five miles from the debouchure of the Arkansas from the
mountains.[119] The ridges on the south of the river, as viewed from
this place, presented an embankment of congregated hills, piled one
above another to the region of snow, and scored into deep and irregular
chasms, frowning precipices, tottering rocks, and black glistening
strata, whose recent fractures indicated that they were continually
{216} sending upon the humble hills below weighty testimony of their
own superior height and might. Nothing could be more perfectly wild.
The summits were capped with ice. The ravines which radiated from their
apices were filled with snow far down their course; and so utterly
rough was the whole mass, that there did not appear to be a foot of
plain surface upon it. Eternal, sublime confusion!

This range runs down the Arkansas, bearing a little south of a
parallel with it, the distance of about fifty miles, and then turning
southward, bears off to Taos and Santa Fé. At the back of this ridge
to the westward, and connected with it, is said to be a very extensive
tract of mountains which embrace the sources of the Rio Bravo del
Norte, the Wolfano, and other branches of the Arkansas; and a number
of streams that fall into Rio Colorado of the West, and the Gulf of
California.[120] Among these heights live the East and West bands of
the Eutaws. The valleys in which they reside are said to be overlooked
by mountains of shining glaciers, and in every other respect to
resemble the valleys of Switzerland. They are a brave, treacherous
race, and said to number about eight thousand souls. They {217}
raise mules, horses, and sheep, and cultivate corn and beans, trap
the beaver, manufacture woollen blankets with a darning-needle, and
intermarry with the Mexican Spaniards.

Sixty miles east of these mountains, and fifty south of the Arkansas,
stands (isolated on the plain), Pike's Peak, and the lesser ones that
cluster around it.[121] This Peak is covered with perpetual snow and
ice down one-third its height. The subordinate peaks rise near to
the line of perpetual congelation, and stand out upon the sky like
giant watchmen, as if to protect the vestal snows above them from the
polluting tread of man. On the north side of the river a range of
mountains, or hills, as they have been called by those who are in the
habit of looking on the Great Main Ridges, rise about two thousand feet
above the plain. They resemble, in their general characteristics, those
on the south. Like them, they are dark and broken; like them, sparsely
covered on their sides with shrub pines and cedars. They diverge also
from the river as they descend: and after descending it forty miles,
turn to the north, and lose themselves in the heights which congregate
around James' Peak.

{218} On the morning of the 18th we rose early, made our simple repast
of tole, and prepared to enter the mountains. A joyful occasion this.
The storms, the mud, the swollen streams, the bleakness and barrenness
of the Great Prairie Wilderness, in an hour's ride, would be behind us;
and the deep, rich vales, the cool streams and breezes, and transparent
atmosphere of the more elevated regions, were to be entered.

Wood's Creek, on which we had passed the night, is a cold, heavy
torrent, from the northern hills. At the ford, it was about three
feet deep, and seven yards wide. But the current was so strong as
to bear away two of our saddle-horses. One of these was my Puebla
animal. She entered the stream with all the caution necessary for the
result. Stepping alternately back, forward, and sidewise, and examining
the effect of every rolling stone upon the laws of her own gravity,
she finally gathered her ugly form upon one of sufficient size and
mobility to plunge herself and rider into the stream. She floated
down a few yards, and, contrary to my most fervent desire, came upon
her feet again, and made the land. By dint of wading, and partially
drowning, and other like agreeable ablutions, we found ourselves at
{219} last on the right side of the water: and having bestowed upon
it sundry commendatory epithets of long and approved use under like
circumstances, we remounted; and shivering in the freezing winds from
the neighbouring snows, trotted on at a pace so merry and fast, that
three-quarters of an hour brought us to the buttress of the cliffs,
where the Arkansas leaps foaming from them.

This river runs two hundred miles among the mountains. The first half
of the distance is among a series of charming valleys, stocked with an
endless number of deer and elk, which, in the summer, live upon the
nutritious wild grass of the vales, and in the winter, upon the buds,
twigs, and bark of trees. The hundred miles of its course next below,
is among perpendicular cliffs rising on both sides hundreds, and
sometimes thousands, of feet in height. Through this dismal channel,
with a rapid current down lofty precipices, and through compressed
passes, it plunges and roars to this point, where it escapes nobly and
gleefully, as if glad at having fled some fearful edict of nature,
consigning it to perpetual imprisonment in those dismal caverns.[122]

Here we entered the Rocky Mountains {220} through a deep gorge at the
right, formed by the waters of a little brook which comes down from
the north.[123] It is a sweet stream. It babbles so delightfully upon
the ear, like those that flowed by one's home, when youth was dreaming
of the hopes of coming years in the shade of the hemlock by the family
spring. On its banks grew the dandelion, the angelica, the elder, the
alder and birch, and the mountain-flax. The pebbles, too, seemed old
acquaintances, they were so like those which I had often gathered,
with a lovely sister long since dead, who would teach me to select
the prettiest and best. The very mountains were dark and mighty, and
overhanging, and striped with the departing snows, like those that
I viewed in the first years of remembrance, as I frolicked with my
brothers on the mossy rocks.

We soon lost sight of the Arkansas among the small pines and cedars of
the valley, and this we were sorry to do. The good old stream had given
us many a fine cat-fish, and many a bumper of delicious water while we
travelled wearily along its parched banks. It was like parting with an
old companion that had ministered to our wants, and stood with us in
anxious, dangerous times. It was, therefore, pleasant to hear its voice
come {221} up from the caverns like a sacred farewell while we wound
our way up the valley.

This gorge, or valley, runs about ten miles in a northwardly direction
from the debouchure of the Arkansas, to the dividing ridge between the
waters of that river and those of the southern head-waters of the south
fork of the Great Platte.

About midway its length, the trail, or Indian track, divides: the one
branch makes a circuit among the heights to the westward, terminates
in the great valley of the south fork of the Platte, within the
mountains, commonly called "Boyou Salade;" and the other and shorter
leads northwardly up the gorge to the same point.[124] Our guide
carefully examined both trails at the diverging point, and finding the
more western one most travelled, and believing, for this reason, the
eastward one the least likely to be occupied by the Indians, he led
us up to the foot of the mountain which separates it from the vales
beyond. We arrived at a little open spot at the base of the height
about twelve o'clock. The steepest part of the trail up the declivity
was a loose, moving surface of sand and pebbles, constantly falling
under its own weight. Other portions were precipitous, lying along
overhanging {222} cliffs and the brinks of deep ravines strewn with
fallen rocks. To ascend it seemed impossible; but our old Kentuckian
was of a different opinion.

In his hunting expeditions he had often ascended and descended worse
steeps with packs of beaver, traps, &c. So, after a description of
others of a much more difficult nature, which he had made with worse
animals and heavier packs, through storms of hail and heaps of snow;
and after the assurance that the Eutaw village of tents, and women, and
children, had passed this not many moons ago, we felt nettled at our
own ignorance of possibilities in these regions, and drove off to the
task. Our worthy guide led the way with his saddle-horse following him;
the pack animals, each under the encouraging guardianship of a vigorous
goad, and the men and myself leading our riding animals, brought up the
rear. Now for a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull not all together,
but each leg on its own account. Five or six rods of zigzag clambering,
and slipping, and gathering, and tugging, advanced us one on the
ascent; and then a halt for breath and strength for a new effort. The
puffing and blowing over, a general shout, "go on, go on," started
the cavalcade {223} again. The pack animals, with each one hundred
and fifty pounds weight, struggled and floundered, as step after step
gave way in the sliding sand; but they laboured madly, and advanced at
intervals of a few yards, resting and then on again, till they arrived
at the rocky surface, about midway the ascent. Here a short pause upon
the declivity was interrupted by a call of "onward" from our guide;
and again we climbed. The track wound around a beetling cliff, which
crowded the animals upon the edge of a frightful precipice. In the most
dangerous part of it, my Puebla mare ran her pack against a projecting
rock, and for an instant reeled over an abyss three hundred feet in
depth. But her fortune favoured her; she blundered away from her grave,
and lived to make a deeper plunge farther along the journey.

The upper half, though less steep, proved to be the worst part of the
ascent. It was a bed of rocks, at one place small and rolling, at
another large and fixed, with deep openings between them; so that our
animals were constantly falling, and tottering upon the brink of the
cliffs, as they rose again and made their way among them. An hour and a
half of this most dangerous and tiresome {224} clambering deposited us
in a grove of yellow pines, near the summit. Our animals were covered
with sweat and dirt, and trembled as if at that instant from the race
track. Nor were their masters free from every ill of weariness. Our
knees smote each other with fatigue, as Belshazzar's did with fear.

Many of the pines on this ridge were two feet in diameter, and a
hundred feet high, with small clusters of limbs around the tops. Others
were low, and clothed with strong limbs quite near the ground. Under a
number of these latter, we had seated ourselves, holding the reins of
our riding horses, when a storm arose with the rapidity of a whirlwind,
and poured upon us hail, rain, and snow with all imaginable liberality.
It was a most remarkable tempest. Unlike those whose monotonous groans
are heard among the Green Mountains for days before they assemble
their fury around you, it came in its strength at once, and rocked the
stately pines to their most distant roots. Unlike those long "blows,"
which, generated in the frozen zone of the Atlantic seas, bring down
the frosty blasts of Greenland upon the warmer climes of the States,
it was the meeting {225} of different currents of the aërial seas,
lashed and torn by the live thunder, among the sounding mountains.
One portion of it had gathered its electricity and mist around James'
Peak in the east; another among the white heights north-west; and a
third among the snowy pyramids of the Eutaws in the south-west; and,
marshalling their hosts, met over this connecting ridge between the
eastern and central ranges, as if by general battle to settle a vexed
question as to the better right to the Pass; and it was sublimely
fought. The opposing storms met nearly at the zenith, and fiercely
rolled together their angry masses. As if to carry out the simile I
have here attempted, at the moment of their junction, the electricity
of each leaped upon its antagonist transversely across the heavens, and
in some instances fell in immense bolts upon the trembling cliffs; and
then instantly came a volley of hail as large as grape-shot, sufficient
to whiten all the towers of this horrid war. It lasted an hour. I never
before, not even on the plains, saw such a movement of the elements.
If anything had been wanting to establish the theory, this exhibition
sufficed to convince those who saw its {226} movements, and felt its
power, that these mountains are the great laboratory of mist, wind, and
electricity, which, formed into storms, are sent in such awful fury
upon the great plains or prairies that stretch away from their bases to
the States, and, that here alone may be witnessed the extreme power of
the warring elements.

After the violence of the tempest had abated, we travelled up the
remainder of the ascent, and halted a few minutes on the summit to
view the scene around us.[125] Behind was the valley up which we had
travelled, covered with evergreen shrubs. On the east of this, rose a
precipitous wall of stratified rock, two thousand or three thousand
feet high, stretching off towards the Arkansas, and dotted here and
there with the small shrub pine, struggling from the crevices of the
rocks. In the south-west the mountains, less precipitous, rose one
above another in a distance, till their blue tops faded into the
semblance of the sky. To the east of our position, there was nothing in
sight but piles of mountains, whose dark and ragged masses increased
in height and magnitude, till they towered in naked grandeur around
James' Peak. From that frozen height ran off to the north {227} that
secondary range of mountains that lie between the head-waters of the
South Fork of the Platte and the plains. This is a range of brown,
barren, and broken ridges, destitute alike of earth and shrub, with an
average height of three thousand feet above the plain. On the western
side of it, and north of the place where we were viewing them, hills
of a constantly decreasing height fall off for fifty miles to the
north-west, till they sink in the beautiful valley of Boyou Salade, and
then rising again, tower higher and higher in the west, until lost in
the haze about the base of the Anahuac range; a vast waste of undusted
rocks, without a flower or leaf to adorn it, save those that hide their
sweetness from its eternal winters in the glens down which we were to

The Anahuac ridge of the snowy range was visible for at least one
hundred miles of latitude; and the nearest point was so far distant
that the dip of the horizon concealed all that portion of it below
the line of perpetual congelation. The whole mass was purely white.
The principal irregularity perceptible was a slight undulation on
the upper edge. There was, however, perceptible shading on the lower
edge, produced, perhaps, by great lateral swells protruding {228} from
the general outline. But the mass, at least ninety miles distant, as
white as milk, the home of the frosts of all ages, stretching away to
the north by west full a hundred miles, unscaled by any living thing,
except perhaps by the bold bird of our national arms,

    "Broad, high, eternal, and sublime,
    The mock of ages and the twin of time,"

is an object of amazing grandeur, unequalled probably on the face of
the globe.

We left this interesting panorama, and travelled down five miles to the
side of a little stream running north, and encamped.[126] We were wet
from head to foot, and shivering with cold. The day had indeed been
one of much discomfort; yet we had been well repaid for all this by the
absorbing freshness and sublimity that hung around us. The lightning
bounding on the crags; the thunder breaking the slumber of the
mountains; a cooler climate, and the noble pine again; a view of the
Great Main snowy range of the "Rocky," "Stone," or "Shining" mountains,
south of the Great Gap, from a height never before trodden by a
civilized tourist, the sight of the endless assemblage of rocky peaks,
among which {229} our weary feet were yet to tread along unexplored
waters, were the delights which lay upon the track of the day, and made
us happy at our evening fire. Our supper of water porridge being eaten,
we tried to sleep. But the cold wind from the snow soon drove us from
our blankets to our fire, where we turned ourselves like Christmas
turkeys, till morning. The mountain flax grew around our encampment.
Every stalk was stiffened by the frosts of the night; and the waters
of the brooks were barred with ice. This is the birth-place of the
Plattes. From these gorges its floods receive existence, among the
sturdy, solemn pines and nursing tempests, twelve miles north of the
Arkansas's debouchement from the mountains, and forty miles due west
from James' Peak.

On the 19th we travelled in a northward course down the little streams
bursting from the hills, and babbling among the bushes. We were upon
an Indian trail, full of sharp gravel, that annoyed our animals
exceedingly. The pines were often difficult to pass, so thick were
they. But the right course was easily discovered among them, even when
the soil was so hard as to have received no impression from previous
{230} travelling, by small stones which the Eutaws had placed among
the branches. About mid-day we saw scattering spears of the wild
flax again, and a few small shrubs of the black birch near the water
courses. The endless climbing and ascending of hills prevented our
making much progress. At two o'clock we judged ourselves but ten miles
from the last night's encampment. A cloud of hail then beginning to
pelt and chill us, we took shelter in a small grove of pines. But as
the hail had fallen two inches in depth, over the whole adjoining
country, every movement of the atmosphere was like a blast of December.
Too cold to sleep, we therefore built fires and dried our packs, &c.,
till the howl of the wolves gave notice of the approach of morning.

Tole for breakfast. It had been our only food for nine days. It seemed
strange that we should have travelled one hundred and eighty miles, in
a country like that we had passed through since leaving Fort William,
without killing an animal. But it ceased to appear so, when our worthy
guide informed us that no individual had ever come from the Arkansas,
in the region of the Fort, to the mountains, with as little suffering
as we had. "It is," said he, "a starving {231} country; never any game
found in it. The buffalo come into these valleys from the north through
the Bull Pen, and go out there when the storms of the autumn warn them
to fly to the south for warm winter quarters. But that valley off
there, (pointing to a low smooth spot in the horizon), looks mighty
like Boyou Salade, my old stamping ground. If it should be, we will
have meat before the sun is behind the snow."[127]

We were well pleased with this prospect. Our Mexican servant cried, at
the top of his voice, "Esta muy bueno, Señor Kelly, si, muy bueno, este
Boyou Salade; mucho carne por nosotros." And the poor fellow had some
reasons for this expression of joy, for the tole regimen had been to
him what the water gruel of the Mudfog workhouse was to Oliver Twist,
except that its excellent flavour had never induced the Mexican "to ask
for more." He had, on previous occasions, in company with Kelly, gnawed
the ribs of many a fat cow in Boyou Salade; and the instincts of his
stomach put him in such a frenzy at the recollection, that although he
could only understand the words "Boyou Salade," these were sufficient
to induce him to cross {232} himself from the fore-step to the abdomen,
and to swear by Santa Gaudaloupe that tole was not food for a Christian

On the 20th we were early on our way. The small prairie wolf which
had howled us to sleep every evening, and howled us awake every
morning since we left Independence, was continually greeting us with
an ill-natured growl, as we rode along among his hiding places. The
streams that were mere rivulets twenty miles back, having received
a thousand tributaries, were now heavy and deep torrents. The peaks
and mountain swells were clad with hail and snow. Every thing, even
ourselves, shivering in our blankets, gave evidence that we were
traversing the realms of winter. Still many of the grasses and flowers
which usually flourish in high latitudes and elevated places were
growing along the radices of the hills, and aided much in giving the
whole scene an unusually singular aspect. We were in fine spirits, and
in the enjoyment of a voracious appetite. Our expectations of having a
shot soon at a buffalo, were perhaps an accessory cause of this last.
But be that as it may, we dodged along among the pines and spruce
and hemlock and firs {233} about ten miles, and rose over a swell of
land covered with small trees in full view of a quiet little band of
buffalo. Ye deities who presided of old over the trencher and goblet,
did not our palates leap for a tender loin? A halt--our famous old
Kentuckian creeps away around a copse of wood--we hear the crack of
his deadly rifle--witness the writhing of the buffalo! He lays himself
gently down. All is now silent, intense anxiety to observe whether
he will rise again and run, as buffalo often do under the smart of a
wound, beyond our reach among the hills. No! he curls his tail as in
the last agony; he choaks; he is ours! he is ours!

Our knives are quickly hauled from their sheaths--he is rolled upon his
brisket--his hide is slit along the spine, and pealed down midrib; one
side of it is cut off and spread upon the sand to receive the meat;
the flesh on each side of the spine is pared off; the mouth is opened,
and the tongue removed from his jaws; the axe is laid to his rib; the
heart--the fat--the tender loins--the blood, are taken out--his legs
are rifled of their generous marrow bones; all wrapped in the green
hide, and loaded on animals, and off to camp in a charming {234} grove
of white pine by a cold stream of water under a woody hill!

Who that had seen us stirring our fires that night in the starlight of
bright skies among the mountain forests; who that had seen the buffalo
ribs propped up before the crackling blaze--the brisket boiling in
our camp-kettles; who that had seen us with open countenances yield
to these well cooked invitations to "drive dull care away," will not
believe that we accepted them, and swallowed against time, and hunger,
and tole? Indeed, we ate that night till there was a reasonable
presumption that we had eaten enough; and when we had spent a half-hour
in this agreeable employment, that presumption was supported by a
pile of bones, which if put together by Buffon in his best style,
would have supported not only that but another presumption to the like
effect. Our hearty old Kentuckian was at home, and we were his guests.
He sat at the head of his own board, and claimed to dictate the number
of courses with which we should be served. "No, no," said he, as we
strode away from the bare ribs which lay round us, to our couches of
pine leaves, "no, no, I have eaten with you, fared well, and now you
{235} must take courage while you eat with me; no, no, not done yet;
mighty good eating to come. Take a rest upon it, if you like, while I
cook another turn; but I'll insure you to eat till day peeps. Our meat
here in the mountains never pains one. Nothing harms here but pills and
lead; many's the time that I have starved six and eight days, and when
I have found meat, ate all night; that's the custom of the country. We
never borrow trouble from hunger or thirst, and when we have a plenty,
we eat the best pieces first, for fear of being killed by some brat of
an Indian before we have enjoyed them. You may eat as much as you can;
my word for it, this wild meat never hurts one. But your chickens and
bacon, &c., in the settlements, it came right near shoving me into the
Kenyon when I was down there last."

While the excellent man was giving vent to these kind feelings, he was
busy making preparations for another course. The marrow bones were
undergoing a severe flagellation; the blows of the old hunter's hatchet
were cracking them in pieces, and laying bare the rolls of "trapper's
butter" within them. A pound of marrow was {236} thus extracted, and
put into a gallon of water heated nearly to the boiling point. The
blood which he had dipped from the cavity of the buffalo was then
stirred in till the mass became of the consistency of rice soup. A
little salt and black pepper finished the preparation. It was a fine
dish; too rich, perhaps, for some of my esteemed acquaintances, whose
digestive organs partake of the general laziness of their habits; but
to us who had so long desired a healthful portion of bodily exercise in
that quarter, it was the very marrow and life-blood of whatsoever is
good and wholesome for famished carnivorous animals like ourselves. It
was excellent, most excellent. It was better than our father's foaming
ale. For while it loosed our tongues and warmed our hearts towards one
another, it had the additional effect of Aaron's oil; it made our faces
to shine with grease and gladness. But the remembrance of the palate
pleasures of the next course, will not allow me to dwell longer upon
this. The crowning gratification was yet in store for us.

While enjoying the soup, which I have just described, we believed the
bumper of our pleasures to be sparkling to the brim; {237} and if our
excellent old trapper had not been there, we never should have desired
more. But how true is that philosophy which teaches, that to be capable
of happiness, we must be conscious of wants! Our friend Kelly was in
this a practical as well as theoretical Epicurean. "No giving up the
beaver so," said he; "another bait and we will sleep."

Saying this, he seized the intestines of the buffalo, which had been
properly cleaned for the purpose, turned them inside out, and as
he proceeded stuffed them with strips of well salted and peppered
tender loin. Our "_boudies_" thus made, were stuck upon sticks before
the fire, and roasted till they were thoroughly cooked and brown.
The sticks were then taken from their roasting position and stuck
in position for eating; that is to say, each of us with as fine
an appetite as ever blessed a New England boy at his grandsire's
Thanksgiving dinner, seized a stick pit, stuck it in the earth near
our couches, and sitting upon our haunches, ate our last course--the
desert of a mountain host's entertainment. These wilderness sausages
would have gratified the appetite of {238} those who had been deprived
of meat a less time than we had been. The envelopes preserve the juices
with which while cooking, the adhering fat, turned within, mingles and
forms a gravy of the finest flavour. Such is a feast in the mountains.

Since leaving Fort William we had been occasionally crossing the trails
of the Eutaw war parties, and had felt some solicitude for the safety
of our little band. An overwhelming number of them might fall upon us
at night and annihilate us at a blow. But we had thus far selected such
encampments, and had such confidence in our rifles and in our dog,
who never failed to give us notice of the least movement of a wolf or
panther at night, that we had not stationed a guard since leaving that

Our guide too sanctioned this course; always saying when the subject
was introduced that the dawn of day was the time for Indian attacks,
and that they would rise early to find his eyes shut after the howl of
the wolf on the hills had announced the approach of light. We however
took the precaution to encamp at night in a deep woody glen, which
concealed the light of our fire, and slept with our equipments {239}
upon us, and our well primed rifles across our breasts.

On the morning of the 21st we were awakened at sunrise, by our servant
who had thus early been in search of our animals. The sun rose over
the eastern mountains brilliantly, and gave promise of a fine day. Our
route lay among vast swelling hills, the sides of which were covered
with groves of the large yellow pine and aspen. These latter trees
exclude every other from their society. They stand so closely that not
the half of their number live until they are five inches in diameter.
Those also that grow on the borders of the groves are generally
destroyed, being deprived of their bark seven or eight feet up, by
the elk which resort to them yearly to rub off the annual growth of
their horns. The snow on the tops of the hills was melting, and along
the lower edge of it, where the grass was green and tender, herds of
buffalo were grazing. So far distant were they from the vales through
which we travelled, that they appeared a vast collection of dark specks
on the line of the sky.

By the side of the pebbly brooks, grew many beautiful plants. A species
of convolvulus and honeysuckle, two species of {240} wild hops and the
mountain flax, were among them. Fruits were also beginning to appear;
as wild plums, currants, yellow and black; the latter like those of
the same colour in the gardens, the former larger than either the red
or black, but of an unpleasant astringent flavour.--We had not, since
entering the mountains, seen any indication of volcanic action. The
rocky strata and the soil appeared to be of primary formation. We made
fifteen miles to-day in a general course of north by west.

On the 22nd we travelled eight miles through a country similar to
that we had passed the day before. We were still on the waters of
the Platte; but seldom in sight of the main stream. Numerous noisy
brooks ran among the hills over which we rode. During the early part
of the morning buffalo bulls were often seen crossing our path: they
were however so poor and undesirable, that we shot none of them.
About ten o'clock we came upon a fresh trail, distinctly marked by
hoofs and dragging lodge poles. Kelly judged these "signs" to be not
more than twenty four hours old, and to have been made by a party of
Eutaws which had passed into {241} Boyou Salade to hunt the buffalo.
Hostile Indians in our immediate neighbourhood was by no means an
agreeable circumstance to us. We could not contend with any hope of
success against one hundred and fifty tomahawks and an equal number
of muskets and bows and arrows. They would also frighten the buffalo
back to the bull pen, and thus prevent us from laying in a stock of
meat farther along to support us across the desert in advance. We
therefore determined to kill the next bull that we should meet, cure
the best pieces for packing, and thus prepare ourselves for a siege or
a retreat, as circumstances might dictate; or if the Indians should
prevent our obtaining other and better meat, and yet not interrupt us
by any hostile demonstration in pursuing our journey, we might, by an
economical use of what we could pack from this point, be able to reach,
before we should perish with hunger, the game which we hoped to find on
tributaries of Grand River.

We, therefore, moved on with great caution; and at about two o'clock
killed a fine young bull. He fell in a glen through which a little
brook murmured along to a copse just below. The bulls in considerable
{242} number were manifesting their surplus wrath on the other side of
the little wood with as much apparent complacency as certain animals
with fewer legs and horns often do, when there is not likely to be any
thing in particular to oppose them. But fortunately for the reputation
of their pretensions, as sometimes happens to their biped brethren,
a circumstance chanced to occur, when their courage seemed waxing to
the bursting state, on which it could expend its energies. The blood
of their slaughtered companions scented the breeze, and on they came,
twenty or more, tail in air, to take proper vengeance.

We dropped our butcher knives, mounted quickly, and were about to
accommodate them with the contents of our rifles, when, like many
perpendicular bellowers, as certain danger comes, they fled as bravely
as they had approached. Away they racked, for buffalo never trot,
over the brown barren hills in the north-east, looking neither to
the right nor left, for the long hair around the head does not permit
such aberrations of their optics; but onward gloriously did they roll
their massive bulks--now sinking in the vales and now blowing up the
ascents; stopping {243} not an instant in their career until they
looked like creeping insects on the brow of the distant mountain.
Having thus vanquished, by the most consummate generalship and a stern
patriotism in the ranks never surpassed by Jew or Gentile, these
"abandoned rebels," we butchered our meat, and as one of the works of
returning peace, loaded it upon our animals, and travelled in search
of quaking-asp wood wherewithal to dry it. The traders and trappers
always prefer this wood for such purposes, because, when dry, it is
more inodorous than any other; and consequently does not so sensibly
change the flavour of the meat dried over a fire made of it. Half an
hour's ride brought us to a grove of this timber, where we encamped for
the night--dried our meat, and Eutaws near or far, slept soundly. In
this remark I should except, perhaps, the largest piece of human nature
among us, who had, as his custom was, curled down hard-by our brave
old guide and slept at intervals, only an eye at a time, for fear of

23rd. Eighteen miles to-day among rough precipices, overhanging crags,
and roaring torrents. There were, however, between the declivities
and among the copses of {244} cotton-wood, quaking-asp and fir, and
yellow pine, some open glades and beautiful valleys of green verdure,
watered by the rivulets gushing from the stony hills, and sparkling
with beautiful flowers. Five or six miles from our last encampment,
we came upon the brow of a woody hill that overlooked the valley,
where the waters on which we were travelling unite with others that
come down from the mountains in the north, and from what is properly
called the south fork of the Great Platte, within the mountains. Here
we found fresh Indian tracks; and on that account deemed it prudent
to take to the timbered heights, bordering the valley on the west, in
order to ascertain the position of the Indians, their numbers, &c.,
before venturing within their reach. We accordingly, for three hours,
wound our way in silence among fallen timber and thickset cotton-wood;
climbed every neighbouring height, and examined the depressions in the
plain, which could not be seen from the lower hills.

Having searched the valley thoroughly in this manner, and, perceiving
from the peaceable and careless bearing of the small bands of buffalo
around its borders, {245} that if there were Indians within it they
were at some distance from our trail, we descended from the heights,
and struck through a deep ravine across it, to the junction of the
northern and southern waters of the stream.

We found the river at this place a hundred and fifty yards wide, and of
an average depth of about six feet, with a current of five miles the
hour. Its course hence is E. N. E. about one hundred miles, where it
rushes through a magnificent kenyon[128] or chasm in the eastern range
of the Rocky Mountains to the plains of the Great Prairie Wilderness.
This valley is a congeries or collection of valleys. That is, along the
banks of the main and tributary streams a vale extends a few rods or
miles, nearly or quite separated from a similar one beyond, by a rocky
ridge or bute or a rounded hill covered with grass or timber, which
protrudes from the height towards the stream. This is a bird's-eye view
of Boyou Salade, so named from the circumstance that native rock salt
is found in some parts of it. We were in the central portion of it. To
the north, and south, and west, its isolated plains rise one above
the other, always beautiful, and covered {246} with verdure during the
months of spring and summer. But when the storms of autumn and winter
come, they are the receptacles of vast bodies of snow, which fall or
are drifted there from the Anahuac Ridge, on its western horizon. A
sweet spot this, for the romance of the future as well as the present
and past. The buffalo have for ages resorted here about the last days
of July, from the arid plains of the Arkansas and the Platte; and
thither the Eutaws and Cheyennes from the mountains around the Santa
Fé, and the Shoshonies or Snakes and Arrapahoes from the west, and
the Blackfeet, Crows and Sioux from the north, have for ages met, and
hunted, and fought, and loved. And when their battles and hunts were
interrupted by the chills and snows of November, they have separated
for their several winter resorts. How wild and beautiful the past as it
comes up fledged with the plumage of the imagination!

These vales, studded with a thousand villages of conical skin wigwams,
with their thousands of fires blazing on the starry brow of night! I
see the dusky forms crouching around the glowing piles of ignited logs,
in family groups whispering {247} the dreams of their rude love; or
gathered around the stalwart form of some noble chief at the hour of
midnight, listening to the harangue of vengeance or the whoop of war,
that is to cast the deadly arrow with the first gleam of morning light.
Or may we not see them gathered, a circle of braves around an aged
tree, surrounded each by the musty trophies of half a century's daring
deeds. The eldest and richest in scalps, rises from the centre of the
ring and advances to the tree. Hear him:

"Fifty winters ago, when the seventh moon's first horn hung over the
green forests of the Eutaw hills, myself and five others erected a
lodge for the Great Spirit, on the snows of the White Bute, and
carried there our wampum and skins and the hide of a white buffalo. We
hung them in the Great Spirit's lodge, and seated ourselves in silence
till the moon had descended the western mountain, and thought of the
blood of our fathers that the Cumanches had killed when the moon was
round and lay on the eastern plain. My own father was scalped, and
the fathers of five others were scalped, and their bloody heads were
gnawed by the wolf. We could not live while our fathers' lodges were
empty, {248} and the scalps of their murderers were not in the lodges
of our mothers. Our hearts told us to make these offerings to the Great
Spirit who had fostered them on the mountains; and when the moon was
down, and the shadows of the White Bute were as dark as the hair of a
bear, we said to the Great Spirit, 'No man can war with the arrows from
the quiver of thy storms; no man's word can be heard when thy voice
is among the clouds; no man's hand is strong when thy hand lets loose
its winds. The wolf gnawed the heads of our fathers, and the scalps of
their murderers hang not in the lodges of our mothers. Great father
spirit, send not thine anger out; hold in thy hand the winds; let not
thy great voice drown the death-yell while we hunt the murderers of our
fathers.' I and the five others then built in the middle of the lodge a
fire, and in its bright light the Great Spirit saw the wampum, and the
skin, and the white buffalo hide. Five days and nights, I and the five
others danced and smoked the medicine, and beat the board with sticks,
and chanted away the power of the great Medicine, that they might not
be evil to us, and bring sickness into our bones. Then when the stars
were shining {249} in the clear sky, we swore (I must not tell what,
for it was in the ear of the Great Spirit) and went out of the lodge
with our bosoms full of anger against the murderers of our fathers,
whose bones were in the jaws of the wolf, and went for their scalps to
hang them in the lodges of our mothers. See him strike the aged tree
with his war club again, again, nine times. So many Cumanches did I
slay, the murderers of my father, before the moon was round again, and
lay upon the eastern plain."

This is not merely an imagined scene in former times in Boyou Salade.
All the essential incidents related, happened yearly in that and
other hunting grounds, whenever the old braves assembled to celebrate
the valorous deeds of their younger days. When these exciting
relations were finished, the young men of the tribe, who had not yet
distinguished themselves, were exhorted to seek glory in a similar way.
Woe to him who passed his manhood without ornamenting the door of his
lodge with the scalps of his enemies!

This valley is still frequented by some of these tribes as a summer
haunt, when the heat of the plains renders them uncomfortable. The
Eutaws were scouring it when we {250} passed. We therefore crossed the
river to its northern bank, and followed up its northern branch eight
miles,[129] with every eye keenly searching for the appearance of foes;
and made our encampment for the night in a deep chasm, overhung by
the long branches of a grove of white pines. We built our fire in the
dry bed of a mountain torrent, shaded by bushes on the side towards
the valley, and above, by a dense mass of boughs, so effectually, as
not only to conceal the blaze from any one in the valley, but also to
prevent the reflection from gilding too high the conspicuous foliage of
the neighbouring trees. After our horses had fed themselves, we tied
them close to our couches, that they might not, in case of an attack,
be driven away before we had an opportunity of defending them; and
when we retired, threw water upon our fire that it might not guide the
Indians in a search for us; put new caps upon our arms, and trusting to
our dog and mule, the latter in such cases always the most skilful to
scent their approach, tried to sleep. But we were too near the snows.
Chilling winds sucked down the vale, and drove us from our blankets
to a shivering watch during the remainder of the night. Not a cap,
however, was burst. Alas! for {251} our brave intentions, they ended in
an ague fit.

Our guide informed us, that the Eutaws reside on both sides of the
Eutaw or Anahuac mountains; that they are continually migrating from
one side to the other; that they speak the Spanish language; that some
few half breeds have embraced the Catholic faith; that the remainder
yet hold the simple and sublime faith of their forefathers, in the
existence of one great creating and sustaining cause, mingled with a
belief in the ghostly visitations of their deceased Medicine men or
diviners; and that they number a thousand families. He also stated that
the Cheyennes are a band of renegadoes from the Eutaws and Cumanches;
and that they are less brave and more thievish than any other tribe
living in the plains south of Arkansas.[130]

We started at seven o'clock in the morning of the 24th, travelled eight
miles in a north by west direction, killed another buffalo, and went
into camp to jerk the meat. Again we were among the frosts and snows
and storms of another dividing ridge. Our camp was on the height of
land between the waters of the Platte and those of Grand River, the
largest southern {252} branch of the Colorado of the west.[131]

From this eminence we had a fine view of Boyou Salade, and also of
the Anahuac range, which we had before seen from the ridge between the
Arkansas and the southern waters of the Platte. To the south-east, one
hundred and sixty miles, towered the bald head of James' Peak; to the
east, one hundred miles distant, were the broken and frowning cliffs
through which the south fork of the Platte, after having gathered all
its mountain tributaries, forces its roaring cascade course to the
plains. To the north, the low, timbered and grassy hills, some tipped
with snow, and others crowned with lofty pines, faded into a smooth,
dim, and regular horizon.


[111] For the Ute (Eutaws) see De Smet's _Letters_ in our volume xxvii,
p. 165, note 35. The Cheyenne are noted in our volume v, p. 140, note

[112] Bent's Fort, on the South Platte, is usually spoken of as St.
Vrain's, being in charge of one of the brothers by that name, who
were partners of the Bents. It was situated on the right bank of the
river near the easterly bend of the stream, about opposite the mouth
of St. Vrain's Creek, and some seventeen miles east of Longs Peak. The
site is still a landmark, being near the present Platteville, Weld
County. Frémont visited this fort on his journeys of 1842 and 1843,
and was hospitably entertained. Shortess, who went with what Farnham
calls the "mutineers," says they were detained six weeks at Fort St.
Vrain, awaiting a party bound for Green River. At this fort Dr. F.
Adolph Wislizenus found them September 3, 1839, on his return journey
from the mountains; see his _Ein Ausflug nach den Felsen-Gebirgen_
(St. Louis, 1840), a somewhat rare but interesting narrative of his
journey, written in German. He speaks of the fort as Penn's (Bents) and
Savory's, and found two other rival posts in the vicinity. This post
was also known as Fort George.--ED.

[113] This was a temporary fort, being maintained but a few years.
Wislizenus speaks of it as being four miles above St. Vrain's, and
occupied by French-Canadian and Mexican trappers. Farnham's observation
of the irrigable capacity of this region was correct. Storage
reservoirs now hold the water, and the valley is especially adapted to
fruit raising.--ED.

[114] Farnham intends the Huerfano, now known as Wet Mountains, a range
that leaves the great central system south of Pike's Peak and trends
south-eastwardly to Huerfano River.--ED.

[115] By James's Peak Farnham intends the present Pike's Peak; see
_ante_, p. 111, note 50. What he here calls Pike's was one of the
Spanish Peaks, which would be in a south-western direction from
his camping ground. In recent years the name James Peak has been
transferred to a mountain not far from Central City, on the borders of
Gilpin, Clear Creek, and Grand counties Colorado.--ED.

[116] For Fountain Creek (_Fontaine qui bouit_), which enters the
Arkansas at the present city of Pueblo, see our volume xvi, p. 25, note
10. It derives its name from the present Manitou Springs at the eastern
base of Pike's Peak.--ED.

[117] For this stream (Huerfano) see our volume xvi, p. 53, note 35.
Its two branches are the Cuchara, which rises near the Spanish Peaks,
and the main Huerfano.--ED.

[118] The names of these two creeks appear to have been local titles
applied by Farnham's guide, and named in honor of roving trappers.
Kelly's was probably Turkey Creek, flowing into the Arkansas from the
north, in north-west Pueblo County; Oakley's would therefore be the
present Beaver Creek, in eastern Fremont County--see our volume xvi, p.
44, note 27, for another appellation of this stream.--ED.

[119] From Farnham's location of this stream it would seem to be Field
Creek, down which a branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway comes
to join the main line at Florence--ED.

[120] The first range is the Wet Mountains, for which see _ante_, p.
183, note 110. The extensive tract of western mountains is the Sangre
de Cristo range.--ED.

[121] For Farnham's "Pike's Peak" see _ante_, p. 184, note 111. Pike
did not approach these elevations within many miles.--ED.

[122] Farnham was at the entrance of the Grand Cañon (or Royal Gorge)
of the Arkansas--a chasm much of which was formerly impassable even
to travellers on foot; but it is now threaded by the Denver and Rio
Grande Railway, over a roadbed blasted and hewn from the solid rock, at
one narrow point the track being carried on steel rafters bridging the

[123] Probably Oil Creek, by which Pike made his way over to South
Park; see our volume xvi, p. 34, note 14.--ED.

[124] See Coues's description of the two passes, in _Pike's
Expeditions_, p. 465, note 7. The westernmost goes by way of West Oil
or Ten Mile Creek; the eastern, nearly straight north over the divide
between the waters of the Arkansas and the Platte, by what is known as
Twin Creek Pass.--ED.

[125] The divide at this point has an altitude above sea level of over
nine thousand feet.--ED.

[126] The upper waters of Twin Creek, which is an eastern affluent of
the South Platte.--ED.

[127] Bayou Salade, now known as South Park, received its earlier name
from the salt springs and a slough found therein, which attracted
buffalo and other game. It is a high valley forty miles long by thirty
wide, with undulating, park-like surface, and an area of 1,200,000
acres, at an elevation of from 8,000 to 10,000 feet. It was well known
to early hunters for whom it remained a game paradise as late as 1865.
Pike explored its southern portion in 1806-07. Frémont crossed it on
his return in 1844, and witnessed an Indian battle there. Gold was
discovered on its borders in the early days of the Colorado mining
excitement. To-day it is traversed by several railways and is much
frequented by tourists. See our volume xv, p. 292, note 141.--ED.

[128] For an engraving of Platte Cañon see our volume xv, p. 283. It is
now traversed by the Denver, Leadville, and Gunnison Railway.--ED.

[129] Farnham's topographical descriptions lack data for determining
the exact places en route; but this northern branch was probably
Crooked Trail Creek, up which the Denver, Leadville, and Gunnison
(South Park) railway line proceeds to Breckenridge or Boreas Pass. The
travellers were here not far from the foothills of Mount Lincoln.--ED.

[130] This information with regard to tribal affinities is
incorrect--the Ute and Comanche are of Shoshonean stock, while the
Cheyenne are an outlying branch of the Algonquian family. See our
volume v, p. 140, note 88.--ED.

[131] This is the divide known as Boreas (or Breckenridge) Pass, which
has an over-sea elevation of 11,470 feet at the summit; it is now
traversed by the railway mentioned in note 125, _ante_.--ED.


  An Ascent--A Misfortune--A Death--The Mountain of the
    Holy Cross--Leaping Pines--Killing a Buffalo--Asses and
    Tyrants--Panther, &c.--Geography--Something about descending
    the Colorado of the West--Dividing Ridges--A Scene--Tumbleton's
    Park--A War Whoop--Meeting of Old Fellow Trappers--A Notable
    Tramp--My Mare--The etiquette of the Mountains--Kelly's Old
    Camp, &c.--A Great Heart--Little Bear River--Vegetables
    and Bitterness--Two White Men, a Squaw and Child--A Dead
    Shot--What is Tasteful--Trapping--Blackfoot and Sioux--A Bloody
    Incident--A Cave--Hot Spring--The Country--A Surprise--American
    and Canadian Trappers--The Grand River--Old Park--Death before
    us--The Mule--Despair.

The ascent to this height was not so laborious as the one near the
Arkansas. It lay up the face of a mountain which formed a larger angle
with the plane of the horizon than did the other. But it was clothed
with a dense forest of pines, a species of double-leaved hemlock, and
spruce and fir trees, which prevented our animals from {254} falling
over the precipices, and enabled us to make long sweeps in a zigzag
course, that much relieved the fatigue of the ascent. We however met
here a misfortune of a more serious nature to us, than the storm that
pelted us on the other ridge. One of the horses belonging to our
guide sickened just before arriving at the summit, and refusing to
bear farther the burthen which he had heretofore borne with ease and
apparent pride, sunk under it. We roused him; he rose upon his legs,
and made a willing attempt to do his duty; but the poor animal failed
in his generous effort.

We, therefore, took off his pack, put it upon my saddle horse, and
drove him before us to the summit, from whence we enjoyed the beautiful
prospect we have just described. But we felt little interest in the
expanse of sublimity before us; our eyes and sympathies, too, were
turned to the noble animal which was now suffering great pain. He had
been reared in the mountains; and it seemed to be his highest pleasure
to tread along their giddy brinks. Every morning at his post, with the
other horse belonging to his master, he would {255} stand without being
fastened, and receive his burthen; and with every demonstration of
willingness, bear it over the mountains and through torrents till his
task was ended in the night encampment. Such a horse, in the desolate
regions we were traversing, the bearer of our wearing apparel and
food, the leader of our band of animals, the property of our kind old
Kentuckian, the one-third of all his worldly estate, was no mean object
of interest. After noticing him awhile, we perceived symptoms of his
being poisoned, administered whatever medicine we possessed suited to
the case, and left him to his fate for the night. Rain during the day,
frost during the night; ice in our camp kettles an inch in thickness.

We were out early on the morning of the 25th, and found our guide's
horse living. We accordingly saddled, packed and started down the
valley of a small head stream of Grand River.[132] The sick horse was
driven slowly along for about five miles when he refused to go farther.
It now became evident that he had been eating the wild parsnips at
our last encampment on the other side of the ridge. That he must die
became, therefore, certain, and we unpacked {256} to see the breath
from his body before he should be left to the merciless wolves. He died
near daylight down, and as the path before us was rough and bushy, we
determined to remain on the spot for the night. Our anxiety for the
life of this excellent animal had well nigh led us to pass unobserved
one of the most singular curiosities in nature--a cross of crystallized
quartz in the eastern face of a conical mountain!

On the western side of the stream which we were following down, were a
collection of butes or conical peaks clustered around one, the top of
which was somewhat in the form of the gable end of an ancient church.
This cluster was flanked on each side by vast rolls or swells of earth
and rock, which rose so high as to be capped with snow. In the distance
to the West, were seen through the openings between the butes, a number
of spiral peaks that imagination could have said formed the western
front of a vast holy edifice of the eternal hills. On the eastern face
of the gable bute were two transverse seams of what appeared to be
crystallized quartz. The upright was about sixty feet in length, the
cross seam about twenty feet, thrown {257} athwart the upright near
its top and lying parallel to the plane of the horizon. I viewed it as
the sun rose over the eastern mountains and fell upon the glittering
crystals of this emblem of the Saviour's suffering, built with the
foundations  and treasured in the bosom of these granite solitudes.
A cross in a church, however fallen we may suppose it to be from the
original purity of worship, excites, as it should, in the minds of all
reasonable men, a sacred awe arising from the remembrance of the scene
in Judea which spread darkness like the night over the earth and the
sun. But how much more impressive was this cross of living rock--on the
temple of nature where priest never trod; the symbol of redeeming love,
engraven when Eden was unscathed with sin, by God's own hand on the
brow of his everlasting mountains.

The trappers have reverently named this peak, the "Mountain of the Holy
Cross."[133] It is about eight hundred feet in height above the level
of the little brook, which runs a few rods from its base. The upper end
of the cross is about one hundred feet below the summit. There are many
dark {258} and stately groves of pine and balsam fir in the vicinity.
About the brooks grow the black alder, the laurel, and honeysuckle, and
a great variety of wild flowers adorn the crevices of the rocks. The
virgin snows of ages whiten the lofty summits around; the voice of the
low murmuring rivulets trembles in the sacred silence: "O solitude,
thou art here," the lip moves to speak. "Pray, kneel, adore," one seems
to hear softly breathed in every breeze. "It is holy ground."

26th. On march at six o'clock and travelled down the small stream which
had accompanied us on the 24th and 25th. As we advanced, the valleys
opened, and the trees, pine, fir, white oak, cotton wood, quaking-asp,
&c., became larger and taller. The wild flowers and grass became more
luxuriant. As we were on an Indian trail, our course was as nearly a
right line as the eye of that race could trace among the lower hills.
Hence we often left the stream and crossed the wood swells, not hills,
not mountains; but vast swelling tracts of land that rise among these
vales like half buried spheres, on which, frequently for miles about
us, pine and fir trees of the largest {259} size had been prostrated
by the winds. To leap our animals over these, and among them, and into
them, and out of them, and still among them, floundering, tearing packs
and riders--running against knots and tumbling upon splintery stubs and
rocks, were among the amusements of getting through them. The groves of
small quaking-asp too, having been killed by the elk, in some places
had fallen across our track so thickly that it became necessary to
raise the foot over one at almost every step.

Here my Puebla mare performed many a feat of "high and lofty tumbling."
She could leap the large pines, one at a time, with satisfaction to
herself, that was worthy of her blood. But to step, merely step,
over one small tree and then over another, seemed to be too much
condescension. Accordingly she took a firm unalterable stand upon
her reserved rights, from which neither pulling nor whipping seemed
likely to move her. At length she yielded, as great men sometimes do,
her own opinion of constitutional duty to the will of the people, and
leaped among them with a desperation that ought to have annihilated a
square mile of such obstacles. But instead {260} thereof, she turned a
somersault into about the same quantity of them, and there lay "alone
in her glory," till she was tumbled out and set up again.

The valley, during the day's journey, had appeared five miles in
width.[134] On its borders hung dark mountains of rock, some of
which lying westward, were tipped with shining ice. Far beyond these
appeared the Anahuac ridge. Snow in the south was yet in sight--none
seen in the east north. The valley itself was much broken, with minor
rocky declivities, bursting up between the "swells," and with fields
of large loose stones laid bare by the torrents. The buffalo were seen
grazing in small detached herds on the slopes of the mountains near the
lower line of snow, those green fields of the skies. Many "elk signs,"
tracks, &c., were met; but none of these animals were seen. Our guide
informed me that their habit is to "follow the snow." In other words,
that as the snow in summer melts away from the lowlands, they follow
its retiring banks into the mountains; and when it begins in autumn to
descend again, they descend with it, and pass the winter in the valley.
{261} He also accounted for the absence of the male deer in a similar
way; and added that the does, when they bring forth their young,
forsake their male companions until the kids are four or five months
old; and this for the reason that the unnatural male is disposed to
destroy his offspring during the period of its helplessness. Some rain
fell to-day.

27th. We commenced our march this morning at six o'clock, travelled,
as our custom usually was, till the hour of eleven, and then halted to
breakfast, on the bank of the stream. The face of the country along
the morning's trail was much the same as that passed over the day
before; often beautiful, but oftener sublime. Vast spherical swells
covered with buffalo, and wild flowering glens echoing the voices of a
thousand cascades, and countless numbers of lofty peaks crowding the
sky, will give perhaps a faint idea of it. As the stream that we had
been following bore to the westward of our course, we in the afternoon
struck across a range of low hills to another branch of it that came
down from the eastern mountains, and encamped upon its banks. These
hills were composed of hard gravel, covered with two or three inches
of {262} black loam. In the deep vales the mountain torrents had swept
away the soil, and left the strata bare for miles along their courses.
The mountain flax and the large thistle flourished everywhere. The
timber was the same in kind as we had passed the three last days. The
groves were principally confined to the lower portions of the ravines
which swept down from the snowy heights. The Anahuac range in the west
appeared to dip deeper in the horizon, and recede farther from us.
One half only of its altitude as seen from the dividing ridges was
now visible. We were doubtless lessening our own altitude materially,
but the difference in the apparent height of this ridge was in part
produced by its increased distance. It had evidently begun to tend
rapidly towards the Pacific.

An aged knight of the order of horns strode across our path near four
o'clock, and by his princely bearing invited our trapper to a tilt.
His Kentucky blood could not be challenged with impunity. He dropped
upon one knee--drew a close sight--clove the bull's heart in twain,
and sent him groaning upon the sand. He was very poor, but as we had
reason to fear that we were leaving the buffalo {263} "beat," it was
deemed prudent to increase the weight of our pack with the better
portion of his flesh. Accordingly the tongue, heart, leaf fat and the
"fleece" were taken, and were being lashed to our mule, when an attack
of bilious bravery seized our giant in the extremities, and he began
to kick and beat his horse for presuming to stand upon four legs, or
some similar act, without his permission, in such gallant style, that
our mule on which the meat was placed, leaped affrighted from us
and dropped it on the sand. We were all extremely vexed at this, and
I believe made some disparaging comparisons between the intellects
of asses and tyrants. Whether our mule or Smith felt most aggrieved
thereby we were never informed. But the matter was very pleasantly
disposed of by our benevolent old guide. He turned the meat with his
foot and kicked it good-naturedly from him, saying in his blandest
manner, "No dirt in the mounting but sand; the teeth can't go that;"
and mounted his horse for the march. We travelled twenty miles and

28th. Eighteen miles down the small valleys between the sharp and
rugged hills; crossed a number of small streams running {264} westward.
The mountains along our way differed in character from any we had
heretofore passed. Some of them were composed entirely of earth, and
semi-elliptical in form; others embraced thousands of acres of what
seemed to be mere elevations of fine brown gravel, rising swell above
swell, and sweeping away to the height of two thousand feet, destitute
of timber save a few slender strips which grew along the rills that
trickled at long intervals down their sides.[135] We encamped again on
the bank of the main stream. It was one hundred yards in width; water a
foot and a half deep, current six miles the hour.

29th. To-day we struck Grand River, (the great southern branch of the
Colorado of the west), twenty miles from our last night's encampment.
It is here three hundred yards wide; current, six miles the hour;
water, from six to ten feet in depth, transparent, but, like the
atmosphere, of much higher temperature than we had met with since
leaving the Arkansas. The valleys that lie upon this stream and some
of its tributaries, are called by the hunters "The Old Park." If the
qualifying term were omitted, they would be well described by their
name.[136] Extensive meadows running {265} up the valleys of the
streams, woodlands skirting the mountain bases and dividing the plains,
over which the antelope, black and white-tailed deer, the English hare,
the big horn or mountain sheep, the grisly, grey, red and black bears,
and the buffalo and elk range--a splendid park indeed; not old, but new
as in the first fresh morning of the creation.

Here also are found the prairie and the large grey wolf, the American
panther, beaver, polecat, and land otter. The grisly bear is the
largest and most ferocious--with hair of a dirty-brown colour, slightly
mixed with those of a yellowish white. The males not unfrequently weigh
five or six hundred pounds. The grey bear is less in size, hair nearly
black, interspersed along the shoulders and hips with white. The red
is still less, according to the trappers, and of the colour indicated
by the name. The black bear is the same in all respects as those
inhabiting the States. The prairie dog is also found here, a singular
animal, partially described in a previous page; but as they may be
better known from Lieutenant Pike's description of them, I shall here
introduce it:[137] "They live in towns and villages, having an evident
police established {266} in their communities. The sites of these
towns are generally on the brow of a hill, near some creek or pond,
in order to be convenient to water and to be exempt from inundation.
Their residence is in burrows, which descend in spiral form." The
Lieutenant caused one hundred and forty kettles of water to be poured
into one of their holes in order to drive out the occupant, but failed.
"They never travel more than half a mile from their homes, and readily
associate with rattlesnakes. They are of a dark brown colour, except
their bellies, which are red. They are something larger than a grey
squirrel, and very fat; supposed to be graminivorous. Their villages
sometimes extend over two or three miles square, in which there must
be innumerable hosts of them, as there is generally a burrow every ten
steps. As you approach the towns, you are saluted on all sides by the
cry of "_wishtonwish_," uttered in a shrill piercing manner."

The birds of these regions are the sparrow-hawk, the jack-daw, a
species of grouse of the size of the English grouse; colour brown, a
tufted head, and limbs feathered to the feet; the raven, very large,
turkey, turkey-buzzards, geese, all the varieties of ducks {267} known
in such latitudes, the bald and grey eagle, meadow lark and robin red
breast. Of reptiles, the small striped lizard, horned frog and garter
snake are the most common. Rattlesnakes are said to be found among the
cliffs, but I saw none.

We forded Grand River, and encamped in the willows on the northern
shore. The mountains in the west, on which the snow was lying, were
still in sight. The view to the east and south was shut in by the
neighbouring hills; to the north and north-east it was open, and in the
distance appeared the Wind River and other mountains, in the vicinity
of the 'Great Gap.'[138]

During the evening, while the men were angling for trout, Kelly gave
me some account of Grand River and the Colorado of the west. Grand
River, he said, is a branch of the Colorado.[139] It rises far in the
east among the precipitous heights of the eastern range of the Rocky
Mountains, about midway from the Great Gap and the Kenyon of the south
Fork of the Platte. It interlocks the distance of sixty miles with the
waters of the Great Platte; its course to the point where we crossed,
is nearly due west. Thence it continues in a west by north course one
hundred and {268} sixty miles, where it breaks through the Anahuac
Ridge. The cliffs of this Kenyon are said to be many hundred feet high,
and overhanging; within them is a series of cascades, which, when the
river is swollen by the freshets in June, roar like Niagara.[140]

After passing this Kenyon, it is said to move with a dashing, foaming
current in a westerly direction fifty miles, where it unites with Green
River, or Sheetskadee, and forms the Colorado of the west. From the
junction of these branches the Colorado has a general course from the
north-east to the south-west, of seven hundred miles to the head of
the Gulf of California. Four hundred of this seven hundred miles is an
almost unbroken chasm of Kenyon, with perpendicular sides, hundreds of
feet in height, at the bottom of which the waters rush over continuous
cascades. This Kenyon terminates thirty miles above the Gulf. To this
point the river is navigable.[141] The country on each side of its
whole course is a rolling desert of brown loose earth, on which the
rains and dews never fall.

A few years since, two Catholic Missionaries and their servants, on
their way from the mountains to California, attempted to descend the
Colorado. They have never {269} been seen since the morning they
commenced their fatal undertaking.[142] A party of trappers and
others made a strong boat and manned it well, with the determination
of floating down the river to take the beaver, which they supposed
to live along its banks; but they found themselves in such danger
after entering the kenyon, that with might and main they thrust their
trembling boat ashore, and succeeded in leaping upon the crags, and
lightening it before it was swallowed in the dashing torrent. But the
death which they had escaped in the stream, still threatened them on
the crags. Perpendicular and overhanging rocks frowned above them;
these they could not ascend. They could not cross the river; they
could not ascend the river, and the foaming cascades below forbade the
thought of committing themselves again to their boat.

Night came on, and the difficulty of keeping their boat from being
broken to pieces on the rocks, increased the anxieties of their
situation. They must have passed a horrible night; so full of fearful
expectations, of the certainty of starvation on the crags, or drowning
in the stream. In the morning, however, they examined the rocks again,
and found a small projecting crag {270} some twenty feet above them,
over which, after many efforts, they threw their small boat-rope and
drew the noose tight. One of their number then climbed to explore. He
found a platform above the crag, of sufficient size to contain his six
companions, and a narrow chasm in the overhanging wall through which it
appeared possible to pass to the upper surface. Having all reached the
platform, they unloosed their lasso, and, bracing themselves as well as
they could, with their rifles in the moving, dry earth beneath their
feet, they undertook the ascent. It was so steep that they were often
in danger of being plunged together in the abyss below. But by digging
steps in the rocks, (where they could be dug with their rifle-barrels),
and by making use of their lasso where it could be used, they reached
the upper surface near sunset, and made their way back to the place of

This is a mountain legend, interesting, indeed, but--

    "I cannot tell how the truth may be,
    I tell the tale as 'twas told to me:"

At daylight, on the 30th, our cavalcade was moving across the woody
ridges and verdant valleys between the crossings of {271} Grand River
and its great north fork.[144] We struck that stream about ten o'clock.
Its water was beautifully clear, average depth two feet, and current
four miles the hour. It is said to take its rise in the mountains, near
the south side of the 'Great Gap,' and to flow, in a south-westerly
course, through a country of broken and barren plains, into Grand
River, twenty miles below the crossings. We ascended rapidly all the
day. There was no trail to guide us; but our worthy guide knew every
mountain-top in sight. Bee lines through immense fields of wild sage
and wormwood, and over gravelly plains--a short halt for a short
breakfast--constant spurring, and trotting, and driving, deposited
us at sunset, at the foot of a lofty mountain, clothed with heavy
timber. This was the dividing ridge between the waters of Grand and
Green Rivers. It was necessary to cross it. We therefore, turned out
the animals to feed, ate a scanty morsel of dried meat, and went to
our couches, for the strength requisite for the task. About the middle
of the night the panthers on the mountain gave us a specimen of their
growling capacities. It was a hideous noise: deep and broken by the
most unearthly screams! They were gathering for prey; {272} for our
horses and ourselves. We drove up the animals, however, tied them near
the camp, built a large and bright fire, and slept till daylight.

At sunrise, on the morning of the 31st, we stood on the summit of the
mountain, at the base of which we had slept the previous night.[145]
It was the very place from which I wished to view the outline of the
valley of Grand River, and the snowy ridge of the Anahuac; and it
was as favourable an hour for my purpose as I could have selected
from the whole day. The sun had just risen over the eastern heights,
sufficiently to give the valley of the Grand River to the south-east of
me, those strong contrasts of light and shade which painters know so
well how to use when sketching a mountain scene at early morning, or
when the sun is half hidden at night. The peaks were bright, the deep
shadows sprang off from the western sides, above faintly, and deepening
as they descended to the bases, where the deep brown of the rocks and
earth gave the vales the semblance of undisturbed night.

The depression of the valley, as I have termed it, was in truth a
depression of a vast tract of mountains; not unto a plane {273} or
vale; but a great ravine of butes and ridges, decreasing in height from
the limit of vision in the north-east, east and south--and falling one
below another toward the stream, into the diminutive bluffs on its
banks. The valley below the crossing was less distinctly seen. Its
general course only could be distinguished among the bare hills upon
its borders. But the great main chain, or Anahuac range, came sweeping
up from the Arkansas more sublime, if possible, in its aspect than
when viewed from the heights farther south. It was about one hundred
miles distant, the length of the section in view about one hundred and
sixty; not a speck on all its vast outline. It did not show as glaciers
do; but like a drift of newly-fallen snow heaped on mountains, by some
mighty efforts of the elements; piled from age to age; and from day
to day widening and heightening its untold dimensions. Its width, its
height, its cubic miles, its mass of rock, of earth, of snow, of ice,
of waters ascending in clouds to shower the lowlands or renew its own
robes of frosts, of waters sent rushing to the seas, are some of the
vast items of this sublimity of existence. The light of the rising
{274} sun falling upon it through the remarkable transparent atmosphere
of these regions, made the view exceedingly distinct. The intervening
space was thickly dotted with lesser peaks, which, in the lengthened
distance, melted into an apparent plain. But the elevation of the great
Anahuac ridge, presenting its broad, white side to the morning light in
that dry, clear, upper air, seemed as distinctly seen as the tree at
my side. In the north-west it manifestly tended toward the north end
of the Great Salt Lake. But I must leave this absorbing scene for the
journey of the day. The ascent of the dividing ridge, from which I took
this extensive survey of all this vast, unknown, unexplored portion of
the mountains, was comparatively easy. We threaded, indeed, some half
dozen precipices in going up, within an inch of graves five hundred
feet deep. Yet, as none of us lost our brains on the rocks below, these
narrow and slippery paths can not be remembered in connexion with
incidents either remarkable or sad.

With this notice of mountain turnpikes, I shall be obliged to my
readers to step along with me over the bold summit and look at the
descent, yes, the _descent_, my friends. {275} It is a bold one: one
of the men said "four miles of perpendicular;" and so it was. Or if
it was not, it ought to have been, for many very good reasons of
mathematical propriety that are as difficult to write as to comprehend.
It was partially covered with bushes and trees, and a soft vegetable
mould that yielded to our horses' feet, but we, by dint of holding,
bracing, and sliding, arrived safely at the bottom, and jogged on
merrily six or seven miles over barren ridges, rich plains, and woody
hills to the head of Tumbleton park. We had turned out our animals to
eat, hung our camp-kettle over the fire to boil some bits of grisly
meat that we had found among the rubbish of our packs, and were resting
our wearied frames in the shade of the willows, conversing about the
tracts which we had seen five miles back; one supposing that they were
made by Indians, the Arrapahoes or the Shoshonies, while our old guide
insisted that they were made by white men's horses! and assigned as a
reason for this opinion, that no Indians could be travelling in that
direction, and that one of the horses had shoes on its fore feet; when
the Arrapahoe war-whoop and the clattering of hoofs upon the side hill
above, brought us to our feet, rifle in hand, {276} for a conflict.
Kelly seemed for a moment to be in doubt as to his own conclusions
relative to the tracks, and as to the colour of those unceremonious
visitors. But as they dashed up, he leaped the brook, and seized the
hands of three old fellow-trappers. It was a joyful meeting. They had
often stood side by side in battle, and among the solemn mountains dug
the lonely grave of some slaughtered companion, and together sent the
avenging lead into the hearts of the Blackfeet. They were more than
brothers, and so they met. We shared with them our last scraps of meat.

They informed us that they had fallen in with our trail, and followed
us under a belief that we were certain friends whom they were expecting
from St. Louis with goods for the post at Brown's Hole; that the
Arrapahoes were fattening on buffalo in the Bull Pen, on the north
fork of the Platte;[146] that the Shoshonies or Snakes were starving
on roots on Great Bear River; that the Blackfeet and Sioux were in the
neighbourhood; that there was no game in the mountains except on the
head waters of Snake River; and that they themselves were a portion of
a party of white men, Indians, and squaws, on their way to Bent's Fort
on the {277} Arkansas, to meet Mr. Thomson with the goods before named;
that we might reasonably anticipate starvation and the arrows of the
Sioux, and other kindred comforts along our journey to Brown's Hole.
Mr. Craig, the chief of the party, and part owner with Mr. Thomson,
assured us that the grass on the Columbia was already dry and scarce;
and if there should prove to be enough to sustain our horses on the
way down, that the snows on the Blue Mountains would prevent us from
reaching Vancouver till the spring, and kindly invited us to pass the
winter at his post. After two hours' tarry with us he and his party
returned to their camp.

Tumbleton's Park is a beautiful savannah, stretching north-westerly
from our camp in an irregular manner among groves of pine, spruce, fir,
and oak.[147] Three hundred yards from us rose Tumbleton's Rock, one
of those singular spires found in the valley of the mountains, called
Butes. It was about eighty feet in height, twenty feet in diameter at
the base, and terminated at the top in a point. Soon after our new
acquaintances had left us, we "caught up" and struck across the hills
in a north-easterly course toward the north fork of Little Bear River.
The travelling was very rough, now among {278} fields of loose stones
and bushes, and now among dense forests; no trail to aid us in finding
our way; new ground even to our guide. But he was infallible.

Two hours' riding had brought us upon an Indian trail that he had heard
of ten years before; and on we rushed among the fallen pines, two feet,
three feet in diameter, raised, as you see, one foot, two feet from the
ground. The horses and mules are testing their leaping powers. Over
they go, and tip off riders and packs, &c., &c. A merry time this.
There goes my Puebla mare, head, heels, and neck, into an acre of crazy
logs. Ho, halt! Puebla's down, mortally wounded with want of strength!
She's unpacked, and out in a trice; we move on again. Ho! whistle that
mule into the track! he'll be off that ledge there. Move them on! move!
cut down that sapling by the low part of that fallen tree! drive over
Puebla! There she goes! long legs a benefit in bestriding forests.
Hold! hold! hold! that pack-horse yonder has anchored upon a pine!
Dismount! back her out! she has hung one side of herself and pack upon
that knot! away! ho! But silence! a deer springs up in yonder thicket!
Kelly creeps forward--halt! hush! {279} hu! Ah! the varlet! he is
gone; a murrain on his fat loins! a poor supper we'll have to-night!
no meat left, not a particle; nor coffee, tea, nor salt! custom of
society here to starve! suppose you will conform! Stay, here's trouble!
but they move! one goes down well! another, another, and another! My
Puebla mare, reader, that six foot frame standing there, hesitating
to descend that narrow track around the precipice! she goes over it!
bravely done! A ten feet leap! and pack and all stuck in the mud. That
mule, also, is down in the quagmire! a lift at the pack there, man!
the active, tireless creature! he's up and off. Guide, this forest is
endless! shan't get out to-night. But here we go merrily onward! It
is dark enough for the frogs of Egypt! Halt! halt! ho! Puebla down
again--laid out among the logs! Pull away upon that pack there, man!
help the sinner to her feet again for another attempt to kill herself.
Beautiful pines, firs, and hemlocks, these, reader; but a sack of
hurricanes has been let loose among them not long since. The prostrate
shingle timber, eh? 'twould cover a roof over the city of London; and
make a railroad to run the Thames into Holland. Halt! halt! unpack! we
camp here to-night.

{280} A little prairie this, embosomed, nestled, &c., among the sweet
evergreen woodlands. Wait a little now, reader, till we turn these
animals loose to feed, and we'll strike up a fire wherewithal to dry
our wet garments, and disperse a portion of this darkness. It is
difficult kindling this wet bark. Joseph, sing a song; find a hollow
tree; get some dry leaves. That horse is making into the forest! better
tie him to a bough! That's it; Joseph, that's a youthful blaze! give it
strength! feed it oxygen! it grows. Now for our guest. Seat yourself,
sir, on that log; rather damp comfort--the best we have--homespun
fare--the ton of the country! We're in the primeval state, sir. We
regret our inability to furnish you food, sir. But as we have not, for
the last few days indulged much in that merely animal gratification, we
beg you to accommodate yourself with a dish of Transcendentalism; and
with us await patiently a broiled steak a few days along the track of
time to come.

It was ten o'clock at night when we arrived at this encampment. It had
been raining in torrents ever since nightfall. The rippling of a small
stream had guided us after the darkness shut in. Drenched with rain,
{281} shivering with cold, destitute of food, and with the appetite of
wolves, we availed ourselves of the only comforts within our reach--a
cheering pine-knot fire, and such sleep as we could get under the open
heavens in a pelting storm.

The general face of the country through which the afternoon's travel
had carried us, was much broken; but the inequalities, or hills and
valleys, to a very considerable extent, were covered with a rich
vegetable loam, supporting a heavy growth of pine, spruce, quaking-asp,
&c. The glades that intervened were more beautiful than I had seen.
Many were covered with a heavy growth of timothy or herds grass, and
red top in blossom. Large tracts in the skirts of the timber were
thickly set with Sweet-Sicily. The mountain flax was very abundant. I
had previously seen it in small patches only; but here it covered acres
as densely as it usually stands in fields, and presented the beautiful
sheet of blue blossoms so graceful to the lords of the plough.

I had noticed some days previously, a few blades of the grasses just
named, standing in a clump of bushes; but we were riding rapidly, and
could not stop to examine {282} them, and I was disposed to think that
my sight had deceived me. What! the tame grasses of Europe, all that
are valuable for stock, the best and most sought by every intelligent
farmer in Christendom; these indigenous to the vales of the Rocky
mountains? It was even so.

August 1st. As our horses had found little to eat during the past
night, and seemed much worn by the exceeding fatigues of the previous
day, we at early dawn drew them around our camp, loaded the strongest
of them with our packs, and led and drove the poor animals through
three miles more of standing and fallen timber, to the opening on
Little Bear River, and turned them loose to feed upon the first good
grass that we found.[148] It chanced to be in one of Kelly's old
encampments; where he had, some years before, fortified himself with
logs, and remained seven days with a sick fellow trapper. At that time
the valley was alive with hostile Indians; but the good man valued the
holy principles of humanity more than his life, and readily put it at
hazard to save that of his companion. "A fearful time that," said he;
"the redskins saw every turn of our heads during those seven days and
nights. But I baited our horses within {283} reach of my rifle during
the day, and put them in that pen at night; so that they could not rush
off with them, without losing their brains. The buffalo were plenty
here then. The mountains were then rich. The bulls were so bold that
they would come close to the fence there at night, and bellow and roar
till I eased them of their blood by a pill of lead in the liver. So you
see I did not go far for meat. Now, the mountains are so poor that one
would stand a right good chance of starving, if he were obliged to hang
up here for seven days. The game is all driven out. No place here for a
white man now. Too poor, too poor. What little we get, you see, is bull
beef. Formerly, we ate nothing but cows, fat and young. More danger
then, to be sure; but more beaver too; and plenty of grease about the
buffalo ribs. Ah! those were good times; but a white man has no more
business here."

Our general course since entering the mountains at the Arkansas, had
been north-west by west. It now changed to north-west by north. Our
horses and mules, having eaten to their satisfaction the rich grass
about our guide's old encampment, we moved on down Little Bear River.
The {284} country, as we descended, became more and more barren.

The hills were destitute of timber and grasses; the plains bore nothing
but prickly pear and wild wormwood. The latter is a shrub growing
from two to six feet in height. It branches in all directions from
the root. The main stem is from two to four inches in diameter at the
ground, the bark rough, of a light greyish colour and very thin. The
wood is firm, fine grained, and difficult to break. The leaves are
larger, but resemble in form and colour those of the common wormwood
of the gardens. The flavour is that of a compound of garden wormwood
and sage: hence it has received the names of "wild wormwood" and "wild
sage." Its stiff and knotty branches are peculiarly unpleasant to the
traveller among them. It stands so thickly over thousands of acres of
the mountain valleys, that it is well nigh impossible to urge a horse
through it; and the individual who is rash enough to attempt it, will
himself be likely to be deprived of his moccasins, and his horse of his
natural covering of his legs. There are two species of the prickly pear
(cactus) here. The one is the plant of low growth, thick elliptical
leaves armed with thorns, {285} the same as is found in the gardens of
certain curious people in the States; the other is of higher growth,
often reaching three feet; the colour is a deep green. It is a columnar
plant without a leaf; the surface of the stalk is checked into diamonds
of the most perfect proportions, swelling regularly from the sides to
the centre. At the corners of these figures grow strong thorns, from
an inch to an inch and a half in length. Six inches from the ground,
branches shoot from the parent stalk in all directions, making an angle
with it of about forty-five degrees, and growing shorter as the point
of union with the central stalk increases in height. The consistency
of the whole plant is alternately pulpy and fibrous. We were making
our tedious way among these thorny companions, musing upon our empty
stomachs, when we were overtaken by two men, a squaw and child, from
Craig's party. They made their camp with us at night. Nothing to eat,
starving and weak; we followed the example of the squaw, in eating the
inner portion of large thistle-stalks.

2nd. We rose at daybreak, somewhat refreshed by sleep, but weak,
weak, having eaten but little for four days. The longings {286} of
appetite--they are horrible! Our guide was used to long fasts, and was
therefore little incommoded. He, however, had been out with his rifle,
since the peep of day, and as we were lifting the packs upon our mules,
it cracked in the direction of the trail we were about to travel. We
hastened away to him with the eagerness of starving men, and found him
resting unconcernedly upon his rifle, waiting for us to enjoy with him
the roasted loins of an elk, which had tumbled from a neighbouring
cliff, in obedience to his unerring aim.

Leaving his saddle-horse to pack the meat on, passed along a mile,
and encamped among the willows on the bank of Little Bear River. The
first work, after turning loose our animals, was to build a fire to
cook meat. Our squaw companion thought otherwise. She selected a place
for her camp beneath the willows, cleared a spot wide enough for her
bed, formed an arch of the boughs overhead, covered it with a piece of
buffalo tent leather, unloosed her infant from its prison, and laid
it upon skins in the shade she had formed. After this, the horses of
herself and husband were unharnessed, and turned loose to feed. She
was a good, cleanly, affectionate body, {287} equally devoted to the
happiness of her child, husband, and horses; and seemed disposed to
initiate us into every little piece of knowledge that would enable us
to discover the wild edible roots of the country, the best method of
taking fish, hoppling horses, tying knots in ropes, repairing saddles,
&c., which experience had taught her.

Our fire had just begun to burn brightly, when our guide arrived with
the elk. It was very much bruised by its fall from the cliff when
shot. Yet it was meat; it was broiled; it was eaten; it was sweet.
No bread, or vegetables, or salt, to the contrary, it was delicious.
Four days' fasting is confessed to be an excellent panacea for a bad
appetite; and as all good and wholesome rules work both ways, it is
without doubt a _tasteful_ addition to bad food. I must, however, bear
my humble testimony to the fact, that meat alone, unqualified with
gravy, unsprinkled with salt or pepper, unaided by any vegetable or
farinaceous accompaniment, is excellent food for men. It neither makes
them tigers nor crocodiles. On the contrary, it prevents starvation,
when nothing else can be had, and cultivates industry, the parent of
virtue, in all the multiplied departments of the gastric system.

{288} 3rd. Remained in camp all day to refresh our animals, to eat,
and hear yarns of mountain life. During these conversations, the great
dangers of a residence among the mountains was often reverted to. One
class of them was said to arise from the increasing scarcity of buffalo
and beaver among them. This circumstance compelled the trappers to
move over a wide range of country, and consequently, multiplied the
chances of falling in with the Sioux and Blackfeet, their deadliest
enemies--enemies on whom no dependence could be placed other than
this, that they always fight well whenever and wherever met. Our new
friends related, in this connexion, the death of one of their old
companions, a brave old trapper of the name of Redman. This man, and
another called Markhead, were trapping on the head-waters of Green
River, when they were discovered by a war party of young Sioux, and
robbed of their horses. This was a great annoyance to them. The loss
of the value of their animals was inconvenient for the poor men; but
the loss of their services in transporting their traps and furs, and
"possibles," (clothing, cooking utensils, &c.,) was severely felt. It
was necessary to recover them, or "_cache_;" that is, bury in some
secret place in the dry sand, {289} their remaining property: forsake
their hunt, and abandon all their prospects of gain for the season.
Redman had lived with the Sioux, and relying on their former friendship
for him in their village, determined to go with Markhead, and attempt
to reason a Sioux war party into a surrender of their plunder. They
approached them rifle in hand, and held a parley near the Pilot
Bute.[149] The result was, that the Indians demanded and obtained their
rifles, discharged them at their owners, killed Redman instantly, and
severely wounded his companion. This occurred in the spring of 1839.

4th. We were early on route this morning, down the banks of Little Bear
River; course north-west. Our track lay so low, that the mountains were
seldom seen. A portion of the Anahuac ridge in the south-west, was
the only height constantly in view. The plains, as they are called,
on either side of the river, were cut into vast ravines and bluffs.
In their side sometimes appeared a thin stratum of slate. Few other
rocky strata were seen during a march of fifteen miles. About twelve
o'clock, we came upon a cave formed by the limestone and sulphur
deposit of a small stream that burst from a hill hard by. The water
had, {290} by constant depositions, formed an elevated channel some
five rods down the face of the hillside, at the termination of which
it spread itself over a circular surface of one hundred and fifty
or two hundred feet in circumference. In the centre of this, was an
orifice, down which the water trickled into the cave below. As little
of the cave could be seen from the ground above, myself and two others
attempted to explore it. We found the roof hung with beautifully
crystallized sulphur, and the bottom strewn with large quantities of
the same material in a pulverized state. The odour was so offensive,
however, that we were glad to retreat before we had formed a very
perfect estimate of its extent and contents. It was about six rods
long, eight feet wide, and four feet high. Near it were a number of
warm springs. On the bluff, a few rods above it, was a small tract
of fused rocks. In all the circle of vision, however, there were no
elevations that indicate any powerful volcanic action in former times;
nor any from which these rocks could have tumbled or been thrown. The
warm springs, however, in the vicinity may, perhaps, indicate their

The face of the country passed to-day {291} was dry and barren. A
single quaking-asp tree here and there on the sterile bottom lands, and
small strips of cotton wood, whose tops peered from the deep gorges
just above the level of the wormwood plains, and a few withered patches
of the wild grasses among the patched bluffs, present its whole aspect.

The sun had nearly set before we arrived at the desired place of
encampment, the junction of the two principal forks of Little Bear
River.[150] When within half a mile of it, one of the trappers who had
joined us, suddenly started his horse into a quick gallop in advance
of the rest of the party. We were surprised by this sudden movement,
and hastened after him. As we rose a sharp knoll, our surprise was
changed to pleasure on seeing him in friendly converse with a white
face, a fellow-trapper, one of the "white men" of the mountains. He
was a French Canadian, fourteen days from Brown's Hole. We were soon
across the river, and in his camp among the cotton-wood. Here we found
three others to welcome us, and give us information of the movements
of the Indians. They had been attacked by a Sioux war party, a few
days before on Little Snake River, but had escaped {292} with no other
loss than that of a hat and a favourite dog. Their opinion was that we
should have the pleasure of meeting them on their way to Brown's Hole.
This prospect was extremely gratifying to our noble old Kentucky guide.
"D--n them," said he; "I'll try to pick up one of the rascals. Redman
was as fine a fellow as ever came to the mountains, and they shot him
with his own rifle. He was a fool to let them have it; he ought to have
shot one of them, d--n 'em, and then died, if he must."

Our elk meat was diminishing fast, under the kind administration of
our own and our friends' appetites; and the certain prospect that we
should obtain no more for eight days was a source of no inconsiderable
uneasiness to us. And yet we gave Ward, Burns, the squaw, and the four
French trappers, being destitute of food, as freely as they would have
given to us under similar circumstances, the best piece, and as much as
they would eat for supper and breakfast. These solitary Frenchmen were
apparently very happy. Neither hunger nor thirst annoy them, so long
as they have strength to travel, and trap, and sing. Their camps are
always merry, and they cheer {293} themselves along the weary march in
the wilderness with the wild border songs of "Old Canada." The American
trappers present a different phase of character. Habitual watchfulness
destroys every frivolity of mind and action. They seldom smile: the
expression of their countenances is watchful, solemn, and determined.
They ride and walk like men whose breasts have so long been exposed to
the bullet and the arrow, that fear finds within them no resting-place.
If a horse is descried in the distance, they put spurs to their
animals, and are at his side at once, as the result may be, for death
or life. No delay, no second thought, no cringing in their stirrups;
but erect, firm, and with a strong arm, they seize and overcome every
danger, or "perish," as they say, "as white men should," fighting
promptly and bravely.

5th. This morning we were to part with Burns and Ward, and the French
trappers. The latter pursued their way to the "Old Park," as they
called the valley of Grand River, in pursuit of beaver; the former
went into the heights in the south-west, for the same object, and
the additional one of waiting there the departure of the Sioux and
Blackfeet. These Americans had interested {294} us in themselves by
their frankness and kindness; and before leaving them, it was pleasant
to know that we could testify our regard for them by increasing
their scanty stock of ammunition. But for every little kindness of
this description, they sought to remunerate us tenfold, by giving us
moccasins, dressed deer and elk skins, &c. Every thing, even their
hunting shirts upon their backs, were at our service;--always kindly
remarking when they made an offer of such things, that "the country was
filled with skins, and they could get a supply when they should need

About ten o'clock, we bade these fearless and generous fellows a
farewell as hearty and honest as any that was ever uttered; wishing
them a long and happy life in their mountain home; and they bade us a
pleasant and prosperous journey. We took up our march again down Little
Bear River for Brown's Hole. It was six or eight "camps," or days'
travel, ahead of us; the way infested with hostile Indians--destitute
of game and grass; a horrid journey! We might escape the Sioux; we
might kill one of our horses, and so escape death by starvation! But
these few chances of saving our lives were enough. Dangers of {295}
the kind were not so appalling to us then as they would have been when
leaving the frontier. We had been sixty odd days among the fresh trails
of hostile tribes, in hourly expectation of hearing the war-whoop
raised around us; and certain that if attacked by a war party of the
ordinary number, we should be destroyed. We had, however, crept upon
every height which we had crossed with so much caution, and examined
the plains below with so much care, and when danger appeared near,
wound our way among the timber and heights till we had passed it with
so much success, that our sense of danger was blunted to that degree,
and our confidence in our ability to avoid it so great, that I verily
believe we thought as little of Indians as we did of the lizards along
our track.

We still clung to the stream. It was generally about fifty yards
wide, a rapid current, six inches deep, rushing over a bed of loose
rocks and gravel, and falling at the rate of about two hundred feet
to the mile. During the day, a grisly bear and three cubs and an elk
showed themselves. One of the men gave chase to the bears, with the
intention of killing one of them for food; but they eluded his pursuit
by running into brush, through which a horse {296} could not penetrate
with sufficient speed to overtake them. The man in pursuit, however,
found a charming prize among the brush; a mule--an excellent pack
mule, which would doubtless be worth to him at Brown's Hole £20. It
was feeding quietly, and so tame as to permit him to approach within
ten yards, without even raising its head over the hazel bushes that
partly concealed it. A double prize it was, and so accidental; obtained
at so little expense; ten minutes time only--two pounds a minute! But
alas for the £20! He was preparing to grasp it, and the mule most
suddenly--most wonderfully--most cruelly metamorphosed itself into an
elk! fat as marrow itself, and sufficient in weight to have fed our
company for twelve days. It fled away, before our "maid and her milk
pail companion" could shake his astonished locks, and send a little
lead after it, by way of entreaty, to supply us starving wretches with
a morsel of meat.

After this incident had imparted its comfort to our disappointed
appetites, we passed on, over, around, in, and among deep ravines,
and parched, sterile, and flinty plains for the remainder of our ten
miles' march, and encamped on the bank of the river. The last of our
meat was here cooked and {297} eaten. A sad prospect! No game ahead, no
provisions in possession. We caught three or four small trout from the
river, for breakfast, and slept.

I had now become much debilitated by want of food and the fatigues of
the journey. I had appropriated my saddle horse to bear the packs that
had been borne by Kelly's before its death; and had, consequently, been
on foot ever since that event, save when my guide could relieve me with
the use of his saddle beast. But as our Spanish servant, the owner and
myself, had only his horse's services to bear us along, the portion
to each was far from satisfying to our exceeding weariness. Blair and
Wood also, had had only one horse from El Puebla. We were, therefore,
in an ill condition to endure a journey of seven days, over a thirsty
country, under a burning sun, and without food.


[132] This was the upper stretch of Blue River. Rising in the
continental divide, it flows in three branches which unite at Dillon,
Summit County, thence continuing in a north-westerly course, into Grand
River, on the south-western border of Middle Park.--ED.

[133] The present Holy Cross Mountain is a high peak (14,176 feet)
north-west of Leadville and forming the end of the great Sawatch range.
Its cross is formed by longitudinal and transverse chasms generally
filled with snow. The mountain described by Farnham was on the eastern
slopes of the Blue range, in Summit County.--ED.

[134] Farnham was travelling through one of the richest mineral
districts in Colorado. Gold was discovered on the upper tributaries
of the Blue--the Snake, Swan, and Ten Mile creeks--as early as 1859.
Silver and carbonates were later found in the vicinity of Breckenridge.
The entire region is rich in minerals, and there is also considerable
arable land in Blue River valley.--ED.

[135] These were the Williams River Mountains that bound Blue River
valley on the north-east, separating it from Williams Fork, a parallel
tributary of Grand River.--ED.

[136] "Old Park" is that now known as Middle Park--a broad valley fifty
by seventy miles, the source of Grand River, and now embraced in Grand
County, Colorado. Its name "Old Park" is said to have arisen from the
fact that after being persistently worked by hunters the game was
driven into North Park, which was then termed "New Park," whereupon
Middle became "Old Park." See Chittenden, _Fur-Trade_, ii, p. 750.--ED.

[137] See Coues's edition of _Pike's Expeditions_, pp. 430, 431.--ED.

[138] For the South Pass, or "Great Gap," see Wyeth's _Oregon_, in
our volume xxi, p. 58, note 37. Wind River Mountains are noted in
Townsend's _Narrative_ in the same volume, p. 184, note 35.--ED.

[139] Grand River, the eastern tributary of the Colorado, rises
in two branches in Middle Park, flows west, and thence on a long,
south-westward (not north-west) course nearly three hundred and fifty
miles until it unites with the Green, in south-eastern Utah, to form
the Colorado.--ED.

[140] From the place where it leaves Middle Park, to its union with
the Gunnison, Grand River is practically a series of cañons. What is
locally known as Grand River Cañon is a stretch about sixteen miles in
length, above Glenwood Springs, through which runs the Denver and Rio
Grande Railway; it is thought by many to surpass in majesty the Royal
Gorge of the Arkansas.--ED.

[141] This should be three hundred miles, not thirty. For the great
Cañon of the Colorado, see Pattie's _Narrative_ in our volume xviii, p.
137, note 67, and the references therein cited.--ED.

[142] There is apparently no other record of this disaster unless it
may be an imperfect reminiscence of the explorations of the friar
Francisco Garcés, who was murdered (1781) at his mission, not lost on
the river. See Elliott Coues, _On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer_ (New
York, 1900).--ED.

[143] In 1869, Major J. W. Powell found some wreckage in Lodore
Cañon, on Green River, which Frederick S. Dellenbaugh, _Romance of
the Colorado River_ (New York, 1902), pp. 112, 131, thinks may have
belonged to the party of trappers whose adventures are cited by

[144] It is difficult to know what stream Farnham intends by the "great
north fork" of the Grand, which has almost no northern tributaries
of any size. Probably the course followed was up Muddy River, a
considerable stream rising in the divide between North and Middle Parks
and for about forty miles flowing south into the Grand, nearly opposite
the mouth of Blue River.--ED.

[145] This must be some pass in Park range, which here forms the
watershed between the Grand and Green systems.--ED.

[146] North (or New) Park was frequently called by trappers the Bull
Pen. It is the source of the North Platte, which rises therein in many
branches, uniting near the north or upper end of the park.--ED.

[147] Probably this is the plateau now known as Egeria Park, at the
upper waters of Little Bear (or Yampah) River.--ED.

[148] Little Bear (more frequently known as Yampah) River rises in the
south-eastern corner of Routt County, flows in a northerly direction
for thirty miles, then bends abruptly westward, and for a hundred miles
drains the north-western corner of Colorado; it enters Green River just
below Lodore Cañon, on the boundary between Colorado and Utah.--ED.

[149] The Three Tetons were sometimes spoken of as Pilot Knobs or
Buttes. See Townsend's _Narrative_ in our volume xxi, p. 209, note

[150] The forks of the Little Bear are the junction of Elk Head Creek
with the former, not far from the modern town of Craig. The more usual
route to Brown's Hole came over the South Fork of the North Platte,
which heads with Elk Head Creek.--ED.


  Bear Hunt--Sulphur Puddle--The River--Wolves
    and their Fare--Dog Eating--Little Snake
    River--Thirst--Deserts--Mountains--Mountain Hottentots--Brown's
    Hole--Fort David Crockett--Traders--Winter and its
    Hilarities--Love--The Way to get a Wife--A Recommendation to
    Civilized People--The Colorado of the West--Club Indians--The
    Shoshonies--An Indian Temperance Society--The Crows--The
    Blackfeet--Unburied Skeletons--The Arrapahoes, and Citizenship
    among them--War Parties--Lodge of the Great Spirit--Religious
    Ceremonies--The Vow and an Incident--The First Shoshonie who
    saw a White Man.

6th August. Eighteen miles to-day over the barren intervales of
the river. The wild wormwood and prickly pear were almost the only
evidences of vegetative powers which the soil presented. A rugged
desolation {2} of loam and sand bluffs, barren vales of red earth,
and an occasional solitary boulder of granite; no mountains even,
to relieve the dreary monotony of the sickening sight. About twelve
o'clock it was pleasant to see a small band of antelopes show
themselves on the brink of a bluff.

We halted, and attempted to approach them; but they had been hunted
a few days before by the French trappers, whom we had met, and by no
means relished our companionship. Away they ran like the wind. Our
hopes of finding game were at an end; the French trappers had seen,
on all their way out, no other game than this band of antelopes. Our
faithful greyhound could be eaten as a last resource, and we travelled
on. Our excellent guide insisted upon walking nearly all the way that
I might ride. This was inestimably kind in him. The act flowed from
his own goodness; for, during our long journey together, he had never
failed to take every opportunity to make me comfortable. We arranged
our camp to-night with unusual care. The Sioux were among the hills
on the right, and every preparation was therefore made to receive an
attack from them. But like many other expectations of the {3} kind,
this vanished as the beautiful mountain morn dawned upon the silent

7th. To-day we travelled across a great southward bend in the
river.[152] The face of the country a desert--neither tree nor shrub,
nor grass, nor water in sight. During the afternoon we fell in with
an old grisly bear and two cubs. It was a dangerous business, but
starvation knows no fear.

Kelly and Smith, having horses that could run, determined to give chase
and shoot one cub, while the greyhound should have the honour of a
battle with the other. Under this arrangement the chase commenced. The
old bear, unfaithful to her young, ran ahead of them in her fright, and
showed no other affection for them than to stop occasionally, raise
herself on her hind feet, and utter a most piteous scream. The horses
soon ran down one cub, and the greyhound the other, so that in half an
hour we were on the route again with the certain prospect of a supper
when we should encamp. Had we found water and wood where we killed our
meat, we should have believed it impossible to have proceeded further
without food; but as necessity seldom deals in mercy, she {4} compelled
us in this case, to travel till dark, before we found wood enough to
cook our food, and water enough to quench our parching thirst. At
last, turning from our track and following down a deep ravine that
ran toward the river, we came upon a filthy, oozing sulphurous puddle
which our horses, though they had had no water the entire day, refused
to drink. There was no alternative, however, between drinking this
and thirsting still, and we submitted to the lesser of two evils. We
drank it; and with the aid of dry wormwood for fuel, boiled our meat
in it. These cubs were each of about twelve pounds weight. The livers,
hearts, heads, and the fore quarters of one of them, made us a filthy
supper. It, however, served the purpose of better food as it prevented
starvation. We had travelled eighteen miles.

8th. The morning being clear and excessively warm, we thought it
prudent to seek the river again, that we might obtain water for
ourselves and animals. They had had no grass for the last twenty-four
hours; and the prospect of finding some for the poor animals upon
the intervales, was an additional inducement to adopt this course.
We accordingly wound down the ravine two {5} or three miles, struck
the river at a point where its banks were productive, and unpacked to
feed them, and treat ourselves to a breakfast of cub meat. Boiled or
roasted, it was miserable food. To eat it, however, or not to eat at
all, was the alternative. Furthermore, in a region where lizards grow
poor, and wolves lean against sand banks to howl, cub soup, without
salt, pepper, &c., must be acknowledged to be quite in style.

Having become somewhat comfortable by feasting thus, we travelled on
down this river of deserts twenty miles, and encamped again on its
banks. At this encampment we ate the last of our meat; and broke the
bones with our hatchet for the oily marrow in them. The prospect of
suffering from hunger before we could arrive at Brown's Hole, became
every hour more and more certain. The country between us and that point
was known to be so sterile, that not even a grisly bear was to be hoped
for in it. It was a desert of black flint, sand and marl, rendered
barren by perpetual drought.

9th. Travelled twenty-three miles along the river--nothing to eat,
not even a thistle stalk. At night we tried to take {6} some fish; the
stream proved as ungenerous as the soil on its banks.

10th. Made fifteen miles to-day; country covered with wild wormwood;
at intervals a little bunch grass--dry and dead; face of the country
formerly a plain, now washed into hills. Our dog was frantic with
hunger; and although he had treated us to a cub, and served us with
all the fidelity of his race, we determined in full council to-night,
if our hooks took no fish, to breakfast on his faithful heart in the
morning. A horrid night we passed: forty-eight hours without a morsel
of food! Our camp was eight miles above the junction of Little Bear and
Little Snake Rivers.

11th. This morning we tried our utmost skill at fishing. Patience
often cried 'hold' but the appearance of our poor dog would admonish
us to continue our efforts to obtain a breakfast from the stream. Thus
we fished and fasted till eight o'clock. A small fish or two were
caught--three or four ounces of food for seven starving men! Our guide
declared the noble dog must die! He was accordingly shot, his hair
burnt off, and his fore quarters boiled and eaten! Some of the men
declared that dogs made excellent mutton; but on this point, there {7}
existed among us what politicians term an honest difference of opinion.
To me, it tasted like the _flesh of a dog_, _a singed dog_; and
appetite keen though it was, and edged by a fast of fifty hours, could
not but be sensibly alive to the fact that, whether cooked or barking,
a dog is still a dog, every where. After our repast was finished, we
saddled and rode over the plains in a northerly direction for Brown's
Hole. We had been travelling the last five days, in a westerly course;
and as the river continued in that direction, we left it to see it no
more, I would humbly hope, till the dews of Heaven shall cause its
deserts to blossom and ripen into something more nutritive than wild
wormwood and gravel.

We crossed Little Snake River about ten o'clock. This stream is similar
in size to that we had just left.[153] The water was clear and warm;
the channel rocky and bordered by barren bluffs. No trees grew upon
its banks where we struck it; though I was informed that higher up, it
was skirted with pretty groves of cotton wood. But as the Sioux war
party which had attacked the French trappers in this neighbourhood,
was probably not far from our trail, perhaps on it, and near us, we
spent little time in examining either groves or deserts; for {8} we
were vain enough to suppose that the mere incident of being scalped
here would not be so interesting, to ourselves at least, as would be
our speedy arrival at Craig and Thomson's post--where we might eat
Christian food and rest from the fatigues of our journey. For these,
and several other palpable reasons, we drove on speedily and silently,
with every eye watchful, every gun well primed, every animal close to
his fellows, till ten o'clock at night. We then halted near a place
where we had been told by the French trappers, we could find a spring
of water. The day had been excessively warm, and our thirst was well
nigh insufferable. Hence the long search for the cooling spring to
slake its burnings. It was in vain. Near midnight therefore it was
abandoned by all, and we wrapped ourselves in our blankets, hungry,
thirsty, and weary, and sunk to rest upon the sand. Another dreadful
night! Thirst, burning thirst! The glands cease to moisten the mouth,
the throat becomes dry and feverish, the lungs cease to be satisfied
with the air they inhale, the heart is sick and faint; and the nerves
preternaturally active, do violence to every vital organ. It is an
incipient throe of death.

12th. We arose at break of day, and {9} pursued our journey over the
grey, barren wastes. This region is doomed to perpetual sterility.
In many portions of it there appears to be a fine soil. But the
trappers say that very little rain or snow falls upon it; hence its
unproductiveness. And thus it is said to be with the whole country
lying to the distance of hundreds of miles on each side of the whole
course of the Colorado of the West. Vast plateaux of desolation,
yielding only the wild wormwood and prickly pear! So barren, so hot,
so destitute is it of water that can be obtained and drunk, that the
mountain sheep, and hare even, animals which drink less than any
others that inhabit these regions, do not venture there. Travellers
along that stream are said to be compelled to carry it long distances
upon animals, and draw it where it is possible so to do, with a rope
and skin bucket from the chasm of the stream. And yet their animals
frequently die of thirst and hunger; and men often save their lives by
eating the carcasses of the dead, and by drinking the blood which they
from time to time draw from the veins of the living.

Between this river and the Great Salt Lake, there is a stream called
Severe River, which rises in the high plateaux to the S. E. {10} of
the lake, and running some considerable distance in a westerly course,
terminates in its own lakes. On the banks of this river there is said
to be some vegetation, as grasses, trees, and edible roots. Here
live the "Piutes" and "Land Pitches," the most degraded and least
intellectual Indians known to the trappers. They wear no clothing
of any description--build no shelters. They eat roots, lizards,
and snails. Their persons are more disgusting than those of the

They provide nothing for future wants. And when the lizard and snail
and wild roots are buried in the snows of winter, they are said to
retire to the vicinity of timber, dig holes in the form of ovens in the
steep sides of the sand hills, and, having heated them to a certain
degree, deposit themselves in them, and sleep and fast till the weather
permits them to go abroad again for food. Persons who have visited
their haunts after a severe winter, have found the ground around these
family ovens strewn with the unburied bodies of the dead, and others
crawling among them, who had various degrees of strength, from a bare
sufficiency to gasp in death, to those that crawled upon their hands
and feet, {11} eating grass like cattle. It is said that they have no
weapons of defence except the club, and that in the use of that they
are very unskilful. These poor creatures are hunted in the spring of
the year, when weak and helpless, by a certain class of men, and when
taken, are fattened, carried to Santa Fé and sold as slaves during
their minority. "A likely girl" in her teens brings oftentimes £60 or
£80. The males are valued less.

At about eleven o'clock we came to a stream of good water and halted
to slake our thirst and cook the remainder of our dog mutton. Our
animals' sufferings had nearly equalled our own. And while we ate and
rested under the shade of a tree, it added much to our enjoyment to see
the famished beasts regale themselves upon a plat of short wiry grass
beside the stream. Some marks of dragging lodge poles along the now
well defined trail, indicated to us that a portion of the Shoshonie or
Snake tribe had lately left Brown's Hole. From this circumstance we
began to fear what afterwards proved true, that our hopes of finding
the Snakes at that post and of getting meat from them would prove
fallacious. Our filthy meal being finished, we gathered {12} up our
little caravan and moved forward at a round pace for three hours, when
the bluffs opened before us the beautiful plain of Brown's Hole.[155]
As we entered it we crossed two cool streams that tumbled down from the
stratified cliffs near at hand on the right; and a few rods beyond, the
whole area became visible. The Fort, as it is called, peered up in the
centre, upon the winding bank of the Sheetskadee. The dark mountains
rose around it sublimely, and the green fields swept away into the deep
precipitous gorges more beautifully than I can describe.

How glad is man to see his home again after a weary absence! Every step
becomes quicker as he approaches its sacred portals; and kind smiles
greet him; and leaping hearts beat upon his; and warm lips press his
own. It is the holy sacrament of friendship. Yet there is another
class of these emotions that appears to be not less holy. They arise
when, after having been long cut off from every habit and sympathy of
civilized life, long wandering among the deep and silent temples of the
eternal mountains, long and hourly exposed to the scalping knife of
savages and the agonies of {13} starvation, one beholds the dwellings
of civilized men--kindred of the old Patriot blood, rearing their
hospitable roofs among those heights, inviting the houseless, wayworn
wanderer to rest; to relax the tension of his energies, close his long
watching eyes, and repose the heart awhile among generous spirits
of his own race. Is not the hand that grasps yours then, an honest
hand? Does it not distil, by its sacred warmth and hearty embrace,
some of the dearest emotions of which the soul is capable; friendship
unalloyed, warm, holy, and heavenly?

Thus it seemed to me, at all events, as we rode into the hollow square
and received from St. Clair, the person in charge, the hearty welcome
of an old hunter to "Fort David Crockett."[156] A room was appropriated
immediately for our reception, our horses were given to the care of
his horse guard, and every other arrangement within his means, was
made, to make us feel that within that little nest of fertility, amid
the barrenness of the great Stony Range--far from the institutions of
law and religion--far from the sweet ties of family relations, and all
those nameless endearing influences that shed their rich {14} fragrance
over human nature in its cultivated abiding places--that there even
could be given us the fruits of the sincerest friendship. Such kindness
can be appreciated fully by those only who have enjoyed it in such
places; who have seen it manifested in its own way; by those only,
who have starved and thirsted in these deserts and been welcomed, and
made thrice welcome, after months of weary wandering, to "Fort David

After partaking of the hospitality of Mr. St. Clair, I strolled out to
examine more minutely this wonderful little valley. It is situated
in or about latitude 42° north; one hundred miles south of Wind River
mountains, on the Sheetskadee (Prairie Cock) River. Its elevation is
something more than eight thousand feet above the level of the sea. It
appeared to be about six miles in diameter; shut in, in all directions,
by dark frowning mountains, rising one thousand five hundred feet above
the plain. The Sheetskadee, or Green River, runs through it, sweeping
in a beautiful curve from the north-west to the south-west part of
it, where it breaks its way through the encircling mountains, between
cliffs, one thousand feet in height, broken and hanging as {15} if
poised on the air. The area of the plain is thickly set with the rich
mountain grasses, and dotted with little copses of cotton wood and
willow trees. The soil is alluvial, and capable of producing abundantly
all kinds of small grains, vegetables, &c., that are raised in the
northern States. Its climate is very remarkable. Although in all the
country, within a hundred miles of it, the winter months bring snows,
and the severe cold that we should expect in such a latitude, and at
such an elevation above the level of the sea, yet in this little nook,
the grass grows all the winter; so that, while the storm rages on the
mountains in sight, and the drifting snows mingle in the blasts of
December, the old hunters here heed it not. Their horses are cropping
the green grass on the banks of the Sheetskadee, while they themselves
are roasting the fat loins of the mountain sheep, and laughing at the
merry tale and song.

The Fort is a hollow square of one story log cabins, with roofs and
floors of mud, constructed in the same manner as those of Fort William.
Around these we found the conical skin lodges of the squaws of the
white trappers, who were away on their "fall hunt," and also the
lodges of a few {16} Snake Indians, who had preceded their tribe to
this, their winter haunt. Here also were the lodges of Mr. Robinson, a
trader, who usually stations himself here to traffic with the Indians
and white trappers. His skin lodge was his warehouse; and buffalo
robes were spread upon the ground and counter, on which he displayed
his butcher knives, hatchets, powder, lead, fish-hooks, and whisky. In
exchange for these articles he receives beaver skins from trappers,
money from travellers, and horses from the Indians. Thus, as one would
believe, Mr. Robinson drives a very snug little business. And indeed,
when all the "independent trappers" are driven by approaching winter
into this delightful retreat, and the whole Snake village, two or three
thousand strong, impelled by the same necessity, pitch their lodges
around the Fort, and the dances and merry makings of a long winter are
thoroughly commenced, there is no want of customers.

These winters in Brown's hole are somewhat like winters among the
mountains of New England, in the effects they produce on the rise and
progress of the art of all arts--the art of love. For, as among the
good old hills of my native clime, quiltings, {17} and singing-schools,
and evening dances, when the stars are shining brightly on the snow
crust, do soften the heart of the mountain lad and lassie, and cause
the sigh and blush to triumph over all the counsels of maiden aunts
and fortune-tellers; so here in this beautiful valley, and in the skin
lodge village of the Snakes, there are bright evenings, beaming stars,
and mellow moons, and social circles for singing the wild ditties
of their tribe, and for sewing with the sinews of the deer, their
leggings, moccasins and buffalo robes, and for being bewitched with the
tender passion.

The dance, too, enlivens the village. The musician chants the wild
song, and marks the time by regular beatings with a stick upon a
sounding board; and light heels, and sturdy frames, and buxom forms
respond to his call. To these, and other gatherings, the young go, to
see who are the fairest, and best, and most loved of the throng. Our
friend Cupid goes there too. Yes, Cupid at an Indian dance! And there
measuring bow and arrow with those who invented them, he often lays at
his feet, I am told, the proudest hawk's feather that adorns the brow
of Chief or Chiefess. For, on the {18} morning after the dance, it not
unfrequently happens that he of the beard is compelled, by force of
certain uneasy sensations about the heart, to apply to some beardless
one for the balm of sweet smiles for his relief.

He does not wait for the calm hour of a Sunday night. Nor does he
delay putting the question by poetical allusions to the violet and
firmament. No! Calm hours and the poetry of nature have no charms for
him. He wants none of these. Our friend Cupid has cast an arrow into
his heart, bearded with the stings of irresistible emotion; and he
seeks that mischievous fair one, her alone who selected the arrow and
the victim; her alone who was a "particeps criminis" in the loss of
that great central organ of his life, called in the annals of Christian
countries, "the heart." No! his course is vastly more philosophical and
single-minded, (I mean no offence to my countrymen--none to you, ye
Britons over the waters,) than the ginger-bread, sugar-candy courtships
of Christian people. He first pays his addresses to his band of horses;
selects the most beautiful and valuable of them all, and then goes
with his chosen horse to the lodge of his chosen {19} girl's father or
mother, or if both these be dead, to the lodge of her eldest sister,
ties the animal to the tent pole, and goes away. After his departure,
the inmates of the lodge issue from it, and in due form examine the
horse, and if it appears to be worth as much as the girl whom the owner
seeks, an interview is had, the horse taken by the parents, or sister,
as the case may be, and the lover takes the girl. A fair business
transaction, you perceive, my readers--"a quid pro quo"--a compensation
in kind.

The girl, received in exchange for the horse, becomes the absolute
personal property of the enamoured jockey, subject to be re-sold
whenever the state of the market and his own affection will allow. But
if those, whose right it is to judge in the matter, are of opinion that
the girl is worth more than the horse, another is brought; and if these
are not enough, he of the beard may bring another, or get Cupid to
shoot his heart in another direction.

There are many benefits in this mode of obtaining that description of
legal chattels called a wife, over the mode usually adopted among us.
As for example: by this mode there is a price given for a valuable
article. Now to my apprehension, this is an improvement upon our plan;
for it {20} removes entirely from certain old daddies, the necessity
of disposing of their daughters by gift, to certain worthless,
portionless young men, who are merely virtuous, talented, honest and
industrious; an evil of no small magnitude, as may be learned by
inquiry in the proper quarter. But the Indian system of matrimony
extirpates it. Wealth measures off affection and property by the peck,
yard or dollar's worth, as circumstances require; and no young lady
of real genuine property, respectability and standing, and family,
will think of placing her affections upon a talented, virtuous and
industrious, promising and prosperous coxcomb of poverty; nor, vice
versâ, will a young man of these vulgar qualities have unfathomable
barefacedness to propose himself to a young lady of real genuine
property respectability, property form, property face, property
virtue, property modesty, and property intelligence.

No, bless the day! such impudence will cease to interfere with the
legitimate pretensions of those who are able--while they declare their
passion mighty, unalterable and pure--to place in the hands from which
they receive the dear object of their property love, the last quoted
prices of the family stock.

{21} But I pass to the consideration of another view of this matter
which I deem, if possible, of still greater importance. As, if in
disposing of young ladies in marriage, a valuation in money should be
made of their property beauty, property modesty, property intelligence,
&c., and required to be paid before marriage, the false opinion that
honesty, probity, intelligence, integrity, virtue and respectability
can exist without a property basis, would gradually fade away before
the influence of our rich daddies' daughters. Oh the age that would
then bless our earth! The piety of the church would fan itself in the
property pew. The forum of jurisprudence would then echo to the lofty
strains of property eloquence. The groves of Academus would breathe
the wisdom of property philosophy. The easel of the artist would cast
upon the canvas the inspirations of property genius. And music, and
sculpture, and poetry, born in garrets, would give place to another
race of these arts--a property race, that could be kept in one's
apartments without compelling one to blush for their origin. We should
then have a property fitness of things, that would place our property
selves in a state of exalted property beatitude. {22} It is hoped that
the Legislators of the world will bestow upon this matter their most
serious attention, and from time to time pass such laws as will aid
mankind in attaining this splendid and brilliant exaltation of our
nature, when the precious metals shall be a universal measure of value.

This is diverging. But after my reader is informed that the only
distinct aim I proposed to myself in writing my journal, was to keep
the day of the month correctly, and in other respects "keep a blotter,"
the transition from this strain of true philosophy, to a notice of the
white men and their squaws, will be thought easy and natural.

If, then, a white man is disposed to take unto himself a squaw among
the Snakes, he must conform to the laws and customs of the tribe, which
have been ordained and established for the regulation of all such
matters. And, whether the colour in any individual case be of black or
white, does not seem to be a question ever raised to take it out of the
rules. The only difference is, that the property, beauty, &c. of the
whites frequently give them the preference on 'change, and enable them
to {23} obtain the best squaws of the nation. These connexions between
the white trappers and squaws I am told, are the cause of so many of
the former remaining during life in these valleys of blood.--They seem
to love them as ardently as they would females of their own colour.

A trader is living there with a young Eutaw squaw, through whose charms
he has forsaken friends, wealth and ease, and civilization, for an
Indian lodge among all the dangers and wants of a wilderness. This
gentleman is said to have a standing offer of £140 for his dear one,
whenever, in the course of a limited time, he will sell her graces. But
it is believed that his heart has so much to do with his estimation
of her value, that no consideration could induce him voluntarily to
deprive himself of her society.

The above anecdotes were related to me during the first evening I spent
at Fort David Crockett. It was a bright ethereal night. The Fort
stood in the shade of the wild and dark cliffs, while the light of
the moon shone on the western peaks, and cast a deeper darkness into
the inaccessible gorges on the face of the mountains. The Sheetskadee
flowed silently among the alders {24}--the fires in the Indian lodges
were smouldering; sleep had gathered every animate thing in its
embrace. It was a night of deep solitude. I enjoyed the lovely scene
till near midnight in company with Mr. St. Clair; and when at last
its excitements and the thrilling pleasure of being relieved from the
prospect of death by hunger allowed me to slumber, that gentleman
conducted me to his own room and bed, and bade me occupy both while
I should remain with him. He expressed regret that he had so little
provisions in the Fort;--a small quantity of old jerked meat; a little
tea and sugar.

"But," said he, "share it with me as long as it lasts. I have hunters
out; they will be here in ten or twelve days; you have been starving;
eat while there is any thing left, and when all is gone we'll have a
mountain sheep, or a dog to keep off starvation till the hunters come

My companions and guide were less fortunate. We purchased all the
meat which either money or goods could induce the Indians to sell. It
amounted to one day's supply for the company. And as there was supposed
to be no game within a circuit of one hundred miles, it became {25}
matter of serious inquiry whether we should seek it in the direction
of Fort Hall, or on the head waters of Little Snake River, one hundred
miles off our proper route to Oregon.

In the latter place there were plenty of fine, fat buffalo; but on
the way to the other point there was nothing but antelope, difficult
to kill, and poor. A collateral circumstance turned the scale of our
deliberations. That circumstance was dog meat. We could get a supply
of these delectable animals from the Indians; they would keep life
in us till we could reach Fort Hall; and by aid thereof we could
immediately proceed on our journey, cross the Blue Mountains before the
snow should render them impassable, and reach Vancouver, on the lower
Columbia, during the autumn. On the contrary, if we sought meat on the
waters of Little Snake River, it would be so late before we should be
prepared to resume our journey, that we could not pass those mountains
until May or June of the following spring.

The dogs, therefore, were purchased; and preparations were made for
our departure to Fort Hall, as soon as ourselves and our animals
were sufficiently {26} recruited for the undertaking. Meanwhile my
companions ate upon our stock of barking mutton. And thus we spent
seven days--delightful days; for although our fare was humble and
scanty, yet the flesh began to creep upon our skeletons, our minds to
resume their usual vivacity, and our hearts to warm again with the
ordinary emotions of human existence.

The trials of a journey in the western wilderness can never be detailed
in words. To be understood, they must be endured. Their effects upon
the physical and mental system are equally prostrating. The desolation
of one kind and another which meets the eye every where; the sense
of vastness associated with dearth and barrenness, and of sublimity
connected with eternal, killing frost;--of loneliness coupled with a
thousand natural causes of one's destruction; perpetual journeyings
over endless declivities, among tempests, through freezing torrents;
one half the time on foot, with nothing but moccasins to protect the
feet from the flinty gravel and the thorns of the prickly pear along
the unbeaten way; and the starvings and thirstings wilt the muscles,
send preternatural activity into the nervous system, and through the
whole {27} animal and mental economy a feebleness, an irritability
altogether indescribable.

At Fort David Crockett there were rest, and food, and safety; and
old Father Time, as he mowed away the passing moments and gathered
them into the great garner of the Past, cast upon the Future a few
blossoms of hope, and sweetened the hours, now and then, with a bit
of information about this portion of his ancient dominion. I heard
from various persons, more or less acquainted with the Colorado of
the West, a confirmation of the account of that river given in the
journals of previous days; and also that there resides at the lower end
of its great kenyon, a band of the Club Indians--very many of whom are
seven feet high, and well proportioned; that these Indians raise large
quantities of black beans upon the sandy intervales on the stream;
that the oval-leaf prickly-pear grows there from fifteen to twenty
feet in height; that these Indians make molasses from its fruit; that
their principal weapon of warfare is the club, which they wield with
amazing dexterity and force; that they inhabit a wide extent of country
north-west, and south-east of this lower part of the river; that they
have never been subdued by the {28} Spaniards, and are inimical to all
white people.[157] Subsequent inquiry in California satisfied me that
this river is navigable only thirty or forty miles from its mouth, and
that the Indians who live upon its barren banks near the Gulf, are such
as I have described.

The Snakes, or Shoshonies, are a wandering tribe of Indians who
inhabit that part of the Rocky Mountains which lies on the Grand and
Green River branches of the Colorado of the West, the valley of Great
Bear River, the habitable shores of the Great Salt Lake, a considerable
portion of country on Snake River above and below Fort Hall, and
a tract extending two or three hundred miles to the west of that
post. Those who reside in the place last named, are said to subsist
principally on roots; they, however, kill a few deer, and clothe
themselves with their skins. The band living on Snake River subsist on
the fish of the stream, buffalo, deer, and other game. Those residing
on the branches of the Colorado, live on roots, buffalo, elk, deer,
the mountain-sheep, and antelope. The Snakes own many horses. These,
with their thousands of dogs, constitute all the domestic animals
among them. They have {29} conical skin-lodges, a few camp-kettles,
butcher-knives and guns. Many of them, however, still use the bow and
arrow. In dress, they follow the universal Indian costume--moccasins,
leggings, and the hunting-shirt. Nothing but the hair covers the head;
and this, indeed, would seem sufficient, if certain statements made
in relation to it be true; as that it frequently grows four and five
feet in length, and in one case eleven feet. In these instances, it is
braided and wound round the head in the form of a Turkish turban. If
only two or three feet in length, it is braided on the female head in
two queues, which hang down the back: on the male, it is only combed
behind the ears, and lies dishevelled around the shoulders. The female
dress differs from that of the male in no other respect than this:
the shirt or chemise of the former extends down to the feet. Beaver,
otter, bear and buffalo skins, and horses are exchanged by them with
the Arrapahoes, and the Americans, and British traders, for some few
articles of wearing apparel; such as woollen blankets and hats. But as
their stock of skins is always very limited, they find it necessary to
husband it with much care, to obtain therewith a supply of tobacco,
arms and ammunition.

{30} From the first acquaintance of the whites with them, these people
have been remarkable for their aversion to war, and those cruelties
generally practised by their race. If permitted to live in peace among
their mountains, and allowed to hunt the buffalo--that wandering
patrimony of all the tribes--when necessity requires, they make war
upon none, and turn none hungry away from their humble abodes. But
these peaceable dispositions in the wilderness, where men are left to
the protection of their impulses and physical energies, have yielded
them little protection. The Blackfeet, Crows, Sioux and Eutaws have
alternately fought them for the better right to the Old Park, and
portions of their Territory, with varied success; and, at the present
time, do those tribes yearly send predatory parties into their borders
to rob them of their horses. But as the passes through which they
enter the Snake country are becoming more and more destitute of game
on which to subsist, their visits are less frequent, and their number
less formidable. For several years, they have been in a great measure
relieved from these annoyances.

From the time they met Lewis and Clark on the head-waters of the
Missouri[158] to the {31} present day, the Snakes have opened their
lodges to whites, with the most friendly feelings. And many are the
citizens of the States, and the subjects of Britain, who have sought
their villages, and by their hospitality have been saved from death
among those awful solitudes. A guest among them is a sacred deposit of
the Great Spirit. His property, when once arrived within their camp,
is under the protection of their honour and religious principle; and
should want, cupidity, or any other motive, tempt any individual to
disregard these laws of hospitality, the property which may have been
stolen, or its equivalent, is returned, and the offender punished. The
Snakes are a very intelligent race. This appears in the comforts of
their homes, their well-constructed lodges, the elegance and useful
form of their wardrobes, their horse-gear, &c.

But more especially does it exhibit itself in their views of sensual
excesses and other immoralities. These are inhibited by immemorial
usages of the tribe. Nor does their code of customs operate upon those
wrong doings only which originate among a savage people. Whatever
indecency is offered them by their intercourse with the {32} whites,
they avoid. Civilized vice is quite as offensive as that which grows
up in their own untrained natures. The non-use of intoxicating liquor
is an example of this kind. They abjured it from the commencement
of its introduction among them. And they give the best of reasons for
this custom:--"It unmans us for the hunt, and for defending ourselves
against our enemies; it causes unnatural dissensions among ourselves;
it makes the Chief less than his Indian; and by its use, imbecility and
ruin would come upon the Shoshonie tribe."

Whatever difference of opinion may exist among civilized men on this
matter, these Indians certainly reason well for themselves, and, I
am inclined to think, for all others. A voice from the depth of the
mountains--from the lips of a savage--sends to our ears the startling
rebuke--"Make not, vend not, give not to us the _strong water_. It
prostrates your superior knowledge, your enlarged capacities for
happiness, your cultivated understandings. It breaks your strong laws;
it rots down your strong houses; it buries you in the filthiest ditch
of sin. Send it not to us; we would rather die by the arrows of the

The Crows[159] are a wandering tribe, and {33} usually found in the
upper plains around the head-waters of the north fork of Great Platte,
Snake, and Yellowstone rivers. Their number is estimated to be about
five thousand. They are represented as the most arrant rascals among
the mountains. The traders say of them that "they have never been known
to keep a promise or do an honourable act." No white man or Indian
trusts them. Murder and robbery are their principal employments. Much
of their country is well watered, timbered, and capable of yielding an
abundant reward to the husbandman.

The Blackfeet Indians reside on the Marias and other branches of
the Missouri above the Great Falls. In 1828 they numbered about two
thousand five hundred lodges or families. During that year they
stole a blanket from the American Fur Company's steamboat on the
Yellowstone, which had belonged to a man who had died of the small-pox
on the passage up the Missouri. The infected article being carried to
their encampment upon the "left hand fork of the Missouri," spread
the dreadful infection among the whole tribe. They were amazed at the
appearance of the disease. The red blotch, the bile, congestion of the
lungs, {34} liver, and brain, were all new to their medicine-men; and
the rotten corpse falling in pieces while they buried it, struck horror
into every heart. In their frenzy and ignorance they increased the
number of their sweat ovens upon the banks of the stream, and whether
the burning fever or the want of nervous action prevailed; whether
frantic with pain, or tottering in death, they were placed in them,
sweated profusely and plunged into the snowy waters of the river. The
mortality which followed this treatment was a parallel of the Plague in
London. They endeavoured for a time to bury the dead, but these were
soon more numerous than the living. The evil-minded medicine-men of all
ages had come in a body from the world of spirits, had entered into
them, and were working the annihilation of the Blackfeet race.

The Great Spirit had also placed the floods of his displeasure between
himself and them. He had cast a mist over the eyes of their conjurors,
that they might not know the remedial incantation. Their hunts
were ended; their bows were broken; the fire in the Great Pipe was
extinguished for ever; their graves called for them; and the call was
now answered by a thousand dying {35} groans. Mad with superstition and
fear, brother forsook sister; father his son; and mother her sucking
child; and fled to the elevated vales among the western heights, where
the influences of the climate, operating upon the already well-spent
energies of the disease, restored the remainder of the tribe again
to health. Of the two thousand five hundred families existing at the
time the pestilence commenced, one or more members of eight hundred
only survived its ravages; and even to this hour do the bones of seven
or eight thousand Blackfeet lie unburied among the decaying lodges
of their deserted village, on the banks of the Yellowstone. But this
infliction has in no wise humanized their blood-thirsty nature. As ever
before, they wage exterminating war upon the traders and trappers, and
the Oregon Indians.[160]

The Arrapahoes reside south of the Snakes.[161] They wander in the
winter season over the country about the head of the Great Kenyon of
the Colorado of the West, and to a considerable distance down that
river; and in summer hunt the buffalo in the New Park, or "Bull Pen,"
in the "Old Park" on Grand River, and in "Boyou Salade," on the south
fork of the Platte. Their {36} number is not well ascertained. Some
estimate it at three thousand, others more, and others still less. They
are said to be a brave, fearless, thrifty, ingenious, and hospitable
people. They own large numbers of horses, mules, dogs, and sheep. The
dogs they fatten and eat. Hence the name Arrapahoes--dog eaters. They
manufacture the wool of their sheep into blankets of a very superior
quality. I saw many of them; possessed one; and believe them to be
made with something in the form of a darning-needle. They appeared to
be wrought, in the first time, like a fishing-net; and on this, as a
foundation, darned so densely that the rain will not penetrate them.
They are usually striped or checked with yellow and red.

There is in this tribe a very curious law of naturalization; it is
based upon property. Any one, whether red or white, may avail himself
of it. One horse, which can run with sufficient speed to overtake a
buffalo cow, and another horse or mule, capable of bearing a pack of
two hundred pounds, must be possessed by the applicant.

These being delivered to the principal chief of the tribe, and his
intentions being made known, he is declared a citizen of the {37}
Arrapahoe tribe, and entitled to a wife and other high privileges
thereunto appertaining. Thus recognized, he enters upon a life of
savage independence. His wife takes care of his horses, manufactures
his saddles and bridles, and leash ropes and whips, his moccasins,
leggings, and hunting-shirts, from leather and other materials prepared
by her own hands; beats with a wooden adze his buffalo robes, till they
are soft and pleasant for his couch; tans hides for his tent covering,
and drags from the distant hills the clean white-pine poles to support
it; cooks his daily food and places it before him. And should sickness
overtake him, and death rap at the door of his lodge, his squaw watches
kindly the last yearnings of the departing spirit. His sole duty, as
her lord in life, and as a citizen of the Arrapahoe tribe, is to ride
the horse which she saddles and brings to his tent, kill the game which
she dresses and cures; sit and slumber on the couch which she spreads;
and fight the enemies of the tribe. Their language is said to be
essentially the same as that spoken by the Snakes and Cumanches.[162]

This, and other tribes in the mountains, and in the upper plains, have
a custom, the {38} same in its objects as was the ceremony of the "toga
virilis" among the Romans.

When ripened into manhood, every young man of the tribe is expected
to do some act of bravery that will give promise of his disposition
and ability to defend the rights of his tribe and family. Nor can this
expectation be disregarded. So, in the spring of the year, those of
the age alluded to, associate themselves forty or fifty in a band,
and devote themselves to the duties of man's estate in the following
manner:--They take leave of their friends, and depart to some secret
place near the woodlands; collect poles twenty or thirty feet in
length, and raise them in the form of a cone; and cover the structure
so thickly with leaves and boughs as to secure the interior from the
gaze of persons outside. They then hang a fresh buffalo's head inside,
near the top of the lodge where the poles meet; and below this, around
the sides, suspend camp-kettles, scalps, and blankets, and the skin
of a white buffalo, as offerings to the Great Spirit. After the lodge
is thus arranged, they enter it with much solemnity, and commence
the ceremonies which are to consecrate themselves to war, and the
destruction of their own enemies, and those of the tribe. The {39}
first act, is to seat themselves in a circle round a fire built in the
centre of the lodge, and "make medicine;" that is,--invoke the presence
and aid of protecting spirits, by smoking the great mystic pipe.

One of their number fills it with tobacco and herbs, places upon the
bowl a bright coal from the fire within the lodge, draws the smoke into
his lungs, and blows it thence through his nostrils. He then seizes the
stem with both hands, and leaning forward, touches the ground between
his feet with the lower part of the bowl, and smokes again as before.
The feet, and arms, and breast, are successively touched in a similar
way; and after each touching, the sacred smoke is inhaled as before.
The pipe is then passed to the one on his right, who smokes as his
fellow has done. And thus the Great Pipe goes round, and the smoke
rises and mingles with the votive offerings to the Great Spirit which
are suspended above their heads. Immediately after this smoking is
believed to be a favoured time for offering prayer to the Great Spirit.
They pray for courage, and victory over their foes in the campaign they
are about to undertake; and that they may be protected from the spirits
of evil-minded medicine men. They then make a solemn and irrevocable
vow, that if {40} these medicine men do not make them sick--do not
enter into their bosoms and destroy their strength and courage, they
will never again see their relatives and tribe, unless they do so in
garments stained with the blood of their enemies.

Having passed through these ceremonies, they rise and dance to the
music of a war chant, till they are exhausted and swoon. In this state
of insensibility, they imagine that the spirits of the brave dead visit
them and teach them their duty, and inform them of the events that will
transpire during the campaign. Three days and nights are passed in
performing these ceremonies; during which time, they neither eat nor
drink, nor leave the lodge. At early dawn of the fourth day they select
a leader from their number, appoint a distant place of meeting; and
emerging from the lodge, each walks away from it alone to the place of
rendezvous. Having arrived there, they determine whose horses are to
be stolen, whose scalps taken, and commence their march. They always
go out on foot, wholly dependent upon their own energies for food and
every other necessary. Among other things, it is considered a great
disgrace to be long without meat and the means of riding.

It sometimes happens that these parties {41} are unable to satisfy the
conditions of their consecration during the first season; and therefore
are compelled to resort to some ingenious and satisfactory evasion
of the obligations of their vow, or to go into winter quarters till
another opening spring allows them to prosecute their designs. The
trappers relate a case of this kind, which led to a curious incident.
A war party of Blackfeet had spent the season in seeking for their
enemies without success. The storms of approaching winter had begun
to howl around, and a wish to return to the log fires and buffalo
meat, and hilarities and friendships of the camp of the tribe in the
high vales of the Upper Missouri, had become ardent, when a forlorn,
solitary trapper who had long resided among them, entered their camp.
Affectionate and sincere greetings passed at the moment of meeting.

The trapper, as is the custom, was invited to eat; and all appeared
friendly and glad. But soon the Indians became reserved, and whispered
ominously among themselves. At length came to the ear of the trapper
high words of debate in regard to his life. They all agreed that
his white skin indubitably indicated that he belonged to the "Great
Tribe" of their natural enemies, and that {42} with the blood of a
white upon their garments, they would have fulfilled the terms of
their vow, and could return to their friends and tribe. A part of
them seriously questioned whether the sacred names of friend and
brother, which they had for years applied to him, had not so changed
his natural relationship to them, that the Great Spirit, to whom they
had made their vow, had sent him among them in the character which
they themselves had given him--as a friend and brother. If so, they
reasoned that the sacrifice of his life would only anger Him, and by no
means relieve them from the obligations of their vow.

Another party reasoned that the Great Spirit had sent this victim
among them to test their fidelity to Him. He had indeed been their
friend; they had called him brother, but he was also their natural
enemy; and that the Great One to whom they had made their vow, would
not release them at all from its obligations, if they allowed this
factitious relation of friendship to interfere with obedience to
Himself. The other party rejoined, that although the trapper was
their natural enemy, he was not one within the meaning of their vow;
that the taking of his life would be an evasion of its sacred {43}
obligations, a blot upon their courage, and an outrage upon the laws
of friendship; that they could find other victims, but that their
friend could not find another life. The other party rebutted, that the
trapper was confessedly their natural enemy; that the conditions of
their vow required the blood of their natural enemy; and that the Great
Spirit had sufficiently shown His views of the relative obligations of
friendship and obedience to Himself in sending the trapper to their

The trapper's friends perceiving that the obstinacy of their opponents
was unlikely to yield to reason, proposed as a compromise, that, since,
if they should adjudge the trapper their enemy within the requirements
of their vow, his blood only would be needed to stain their garments,
they would agree to take from him so much as might be necessary for
that purpose; and that in consideration of being a brother, he should
retain enough to keep his heart alive. As their return to their tribe
would be secured by this measure, little objection was raised to it.
The flint lancet was applied to the veins of the white man; their
garments were dyed with his blood; they departed for their nation's
village, and the poor trapper for the beaver among the hills.

{44} My worthy old guide, Kelly, had often seen these medicine lodges.
He informed me that many of the votive offerings, before mentioned,
are permitted to decay with the lodge in which they are hung; that the
penalty to any mortal who should dare appropriate them to his use was
death. A certain white man, however, who had been robbed of his blanket
at the setting in of winter, came upon one of these sacred lodges,
erected by the young Arrapahoes which contained, among other things,
a blanket that seemed well calculated to shield him from the cold. He
spread it over his shivering frame, and very unadvisedly went into the
Arrapahoe village. The Indians knew the sacred deposit, held a council,
called the culprit before them, and demanded why he had stolen from the
Great Spirit? In exculpation, he stated that he had been robbed; that
the Great Spirit saw him naked in the wintry wind; pitied him; showed
him the sacred lodge, and bade him take the blanket. "That seems to be
well," said the principal chief to his fellow-counsellors. "The Great
Spirit has an undoubted right to give away his own property;" and the
trader was released.

Among the several personages whom I {45} chanced to meet at Brown's
Hole, was an old Snake Indian, who saw Messrs. Lewis and Clark on
the head-waters of the Missouri in 1805. He is the individual of his
tribe, who first saw the explorers' cavalcade. He appears to have
been galloping from place to place in the office of sentinel to the
Shoshonie camp, when he suddenly found himself in the very presence of
the whites. Astonishment fixed him to the spot. Men with faces pale
as ashes, had never been seen by himself or nation. "The head rose
high and round, the top flat; it jutted over the eyes in a thin rim;
their skin was loose and flowing, and of various colours." His fears at
length overcoming his curiosity, he fled in the direction of the Indian
encampment; but being seen by the whites, they pursued and brought him
to their camp; exhibited to him the effects of their fire-arms, loaded
him with presents, and let him go. Having arrived among his own people,
he told them he had seen men with faces pale as ashes, who were makers
of thunder, lightning, etc. This information astounded the whole tribe.
They had lived many years, and their ancestors had lived many more, and
there were many legends which spoke of many wonderful {46} things; but
a tale like this they never had heard.

A council was, therefore, assembled to consider the matter. The man of
strange words was summoned before it, and he rehearsed, in substance,
what he had before told to others, but was not believed. "All men were
red, and therefore he could not have seen men as pale as ashes." "The
Great Spirit made the thunder and the lightning; he therefore could
not have seen men of any colour that could produce these. He had seen
nothing; he had lied to his chief, and should die."

At this stage of the proceedings, the culprit produced some of the
presents which he had received from the pale men. These being quite
as new to them as pale faces were, it was determined "that he should
have the privilege of leading his judges to the place where he declared
he had seen these strange people; and if such were found there, he
should be exculpated; if not, these presents were to be considered
as conclusive evidence against him, that he dealt with evil spirits,
and that he was worthy of death by the arrows of his kinsfolks." The
pale men, the thunder-makers, were found, and were witnesses of {47}
the poor fellow's story. He was released; and has ever since been
much honoured and loved by his tribe, and every white man in the
mountains.[163] He is now about eighty years old, and poor. But as he
is always about Fort David Crockett, he is never permitted to want.


[151] This is the first chapter of volume ii of Farnham's

[152] Between Fortification and Lay creeks, the Yampah makes a southern
bend for about twenty-five miles.--ED.

[153] Little Snake is the largest affluent of the Yampah. Rising in Elk
Head Mountains, it flows west and south-west, debouching at a small
plain known as Lily's Park--ED.

[154] For the Paiute see our volume xviii, p. 140, note 70. Concerning
the Sanpitch (not Land Pitch), consult De Smet's _Letters_ in our
volume xxvii, p. 166, note 37.--ED.

[155] Brown's Hole, now known as Brown's Park, is in the north-western
corner of Colorado, on Green River. It is thought to have been named
for an early trapper. The valley, which is about thirty miles long by
five or six in width, is formed by an expansion of the cañon walls of
the river, so that all about it cliffs rise to a great height. The
only entrance is a rocky chasm at the east, about sixty yards wide.
The valley is so sheltered that it possesses an unusual climate,
with seldom snow enough to cover the pasturage; it was, therefore, a
favorite wintering ground for trappers and hunters.--ED.

[156] Fort David Crockett was not long maintained; erected before
Farnham's visit, it was a ruin when Frémont passed here in 1844.
Wislizenus, who arrived a few days after Farnham, declares it the
poorest building seen on his travels, and that the distance from any
well-worn route of travel and the lack of game on the neighboring hills
had given it the name of Fort Misery. It was owned jointly by Thomson,
Craig, and St. Clair.--ED.

[157] Farnham refers here to tribes of the Yuman stock; see our volume
xviii, p. 131, note 65. The Yuma proper are large physically, and
finely proportioned. A recent writer declares that their men are nearly
all over six feet in height--see Eugene J. Trippel, "Yuma Indians,"
in _Overland Monthly_, xiii, xiv. They are an agricultural people and
depend largely upon the mesquite harvest, which Farnham refers to as
black beans. The Yuma were made known to the Spaniards by the reports
of the Franciscan padre, Francisco Garcés, who in 1771 visited them
from his mission on the Gila. They received him with joy, and begged
for his return; he revisited them in 1774. Shortly after this a Yuman
chief called Palma was conveyed to Mexico. Awed by what he saw, he
consented to baptism, and requested a mission in his own land. But it
was not until 1779 that the foundation of a mission was laid, and in
the following year two small colonies were begun--one on the site of
Fort Yuma, and the other eight miles lower down. The natives, however,
found their new neighbors troublesome and exacting, and rising in
revolt July 17, 1781, with clubs massacred almost the entire garrison,
including four missionary padres; see Coues, _Francisco Garcés_, i, pp.
10-24. Hence the appellation, "Club Indians." In 1857 the Yuma suffered
a severe defeat from their neighbors, the Pima and Maricopa, wherein
over a third of their warriors perished. They have generally been on
friendly terms with the United States government, which has recently
arranged a system of irrigation for their lands. About fifty-six Yuma
still live on their reservation, and have a reputation for industry
beyond that of most tribesmen; see U. S. Indian Commissioner's
_Report_, 1904, pp. 158-161.--ED.

[158] For particulars of this meeting, which had been eagerly desired
by the explorers, consult Thwaites, _Original Journals of the Lewis and
Clark Expedition_, ii, pp. 329-360.--ED.

[159] For a brief sketch of the Crow Indians, see Bradbury's _Travels_,
in our volume v, p. 226, note 121.--ED.

[160] The Blackfeet are noted in Bradbury's _Travels_, our volume v, p.
225, note 120. A detailed description is to be found in Maximilian's
_Travels_, our volume xxiii, pp. 95-122. The year of the small-pox
scourge was 1837 (not 1828), and it was a Mandan (not a Blackfoot)
chief who stole the infected blanket. However, the disease reached the
Blackfeet by the same steamer that carried it to the Mandan. See our
volume xxii, p. 36, note 13.--ED.

[161] A brief note on the Arapaho is in our volume v, p. 225, note 120.
The significance of the tribal name is uncertain, but is supposed to
mean "he who buys or trades." The Caddo and Comanche had epithets for
this tribe, that signified "dog-eaters."--ED.

[162] This is incorrect, the Shoshonean differing widely from the
Algonquian language stock. On the Arapaho language, consult James
Mooney, "Ghost Dance Religion," in U. S. Bureau of Ethnology _Report_,
1892-93, p. 1012.--ED.

[163] With this fanciful tradition, compare that of Lewis in _Original
Journals_, ii, pp. 329-351.--ED.


    An Arrival from Fort Hall--An Account from Oregon--Return
    of two of my companions to the States--A startling
    Condition--An Indian Guide--A Farewell--How a Horse
    studies Geology--A Camp--Dog Mutton superseded--A
    Scene--Sheetskadee--Butes--Desolation--Midnight Scene
    in the Mountains--Indian Jim and the Buffalo--Hungry
    Stomachs--A fat Shot--Fine Eyesight--An old Trapper picked
    up--Beautiful Desert--"Hos, Hos"--Meek the Bear Killer--A wild
    Vale--Steamboat Spring--Natural Soda Fountains--Neighbouring
    Landscape--A hard Drive--Valley of Chasm--Nature's Vase--A
    heavy March--Passing the Mountains--A charming Gorge--Entrance
    into Oregon--The South Branch of the Columbia--Fort Hall and
    its Hospitalities.

17th. An event of great interest occurred this day. It was the arrival
of Paul Richardson and three of his companions from Fort Hall. This old
Yankee woodsman had been upon one of his favourite summer trips from
St. Louis to the borders of Oregon. He had acted as guide and hunter
to a party of missionaries to the Oregon Indians. {49} Several other
persons from the western states had accompanied them: one with the
lofty intention of conquering California; and others with the intention
of trading, farming, &c., on the lower Columbia; and others to explore
the Rocky Mountains, and the wonders of nature along the shores of the
Pacific.[164] The events of their tour were freely discussed. They
had storms of hail and human wrath. The conqueror of California had
been disposed to act the general before he had received his epaulettes;
had proved to be so troublesome that he was expelled from camp a short
distance from the frontier, and obliged to ride, sleep, and eat, at a
comfortable distance from his companions, during the remainder of the

The missionaries, too, Messrs. Monger and Griffith,[165] and their
ladies, had had causes of irritability; so that between all the
conflicting feelings and opinions of the party, their little camp,
it was said, was frequently full of trouble. Oregon also came under
discussion. Mr. Richardson had travelled over the territory; knew it
well; it was not so productive as New England; fifteen bushels of
wheat to the acre was an extraordinary crop; corn and {50} potatoes
did not yield the seed planted; rain fell incessantly five months of
the year; the remainder was unblessed even with dew; the Indians and
whites residing there had the fever and ague, or bilious fever, the
year through; that what little of human life was left by these causes
of destruction, was consumed by musquitoes and fleas; that the Columbia
river was unfit for navigation--fit only for an Indian fish-pond. Such
a description of Oregon (the part of the American domain represented by
traders, trappers, and travellers, as most delightful, beautiful, and
productive) was astonishing, unlooked-for, and discouraging. And did I
not recollect that Mr. Richardson had reasons for desiring to increase
the strength of his party through the dangerous plains towards the
States, I should, after having seen Oregon, be at a loss to divine the
purpose of such a representation of it.

18th. Mr. Richardson's description of Oregon had the effect of
drawing off two of my companions. They had no evidence to oppose to
his account; he had resided two years in the Territory, and on the
knowledge acquired by that means, had represented it to be in no sense
a desirable place of abode. They therefore forsook the chase after a
{51} desert, and joined him for the green glades of the valley States.
On the morning of the 18th, they left me. It was the most disheartening
event which had befallen me on the journey. Oakley and Wood had stood
by me in the trials and storms of the plains; had evinced a firmness of
purpose equal to every emergency that had occurred, were men on whom
reliance could be placed; humane men, always ready to do their duty
promptly and cheerfully. It was painful therefore to part with them
at a time when their services were most needed. Alone in the heart of
the Rocky Mountains, a traveller through the range of the Blackfeet war
parties, in bad health, no men save poor old Blair, and the worse than
useless vagabond Smith, alias Carroll, to aid me in resisting these
savages: I felt alone.

I was indeed kindly offered quarters for the winter at Brown's Hole;
but if I accepted them, I should find it impossible to return to the
States the next year. I determined therefore to reach the Columbia
river that season, be the risk and manner what it might. Accordingly I
engaged a Snake Indian, whom the whites called "Jim," to pilot me to
Fort Hall, the march to commence on the morning of the 19th--distance
two {52} hundred miles, compensation fifty loads of ammunition, and
three bunches of beads.

There is in this valley, and in some other parts of the mountains,
a fruit called bulberry.[166] It is the most delightful acid in the
vegetable kingdom; of the size of the common red currant, with larger
seeds than are found in that fruit; colour deep red. It grows upon
bushes eight or ten feet high, which in general appearance resemble a
young beech tree. Of these berries I obtained a small quantity, had a
dog butchered, took a pound or two of dried buffalo meat which Mr. St.
Clair kindly gave me, purchased a horse of Mr. Robinson for the use of
Blair, and on the morning of the 19th of August left the hospitalities
of Fort David Crockett for the dreary waste and starving plains between
it and Fort Hall. Blair, Smith, and my guide Jim, constituted my whole
force. Numerous war-parties of Blackfeet and Sioux were hovering
over my trail. If discovered by them, death was certain; if not, and
starvation did not assail us, we might reach the waters of Snake river.
At all events the trial was to be made; and at ten o'clock, A. M., we
were winding our way up the Sheetskadee.

Of the regrets at leaving this beautiful {53} little valley, there
was no one that I remember more vividly than that of parting with my
old guide. Kelly was a man of many excellent qualities. He was brave
without ostentation, kind without making you feel an obligation; and
preferred on all occasions the happiness of others to his own ease or
safety. The river during the twelve miles' travel of the day, appeared
to be about one hundred yards wide, a rapid current two feet deep,
water limpid. The mountains on either side rose half a mile from the
river in dark stratified masses, one thousand feet above the level of
the stream. On their sides were a few shrub cedars. The lower hills
were covered with the hated wild wormwood and prickly pear. The banks
were of white clay, alternated with the loose light coloured sandy soil
of the mountain districts. The rocks were quartz, red sand-stone, and
limestone. Our camp was pitched at night on the high bank of the stream
among the bushes; and a supper of stewed dog-meat prepared us for sleep.

20th. At seven o'clock in the morning we had breakfasted and were on
our way. We travelled three miles up the east bank of the river, and
came to a mountain, through which it broke its way with a noise which
indicated the fall to be great, and the {54} channel to be a deep
rugged chasm.[167] Near the place where it leaves the chasm, we turned
to the right, and followed up a rough, deep gorge, the distance of five
miles, and emerged into a plain. This gorge had been formed by the
action of a tributary of Green River, upon the soft red sand-stone that
formed the precipices around. It winds in the distance of five miles to
every point of the compass. Along much of its course also the cliffs
hang over the stream in such a manner as to render it impossible to
travel the water-side. Hence the necessity, in ascending the gorge, of
clambering over immense precipices, along brinks of yawning caverns, on
paths twelve or fourteen inches in width, with not a bush to cling to
in the event of a false step. And yet our Indian horses were so well
used to passes of the kind, that they travelled them without fear or
accident till the worst were behind us.

How delusive the past as a test of the future! I was felicitating
myself upon our good fortune, as the caravan wound its way slowly over
a sharp cliff before me, when the shout from the men in advance, "Well
done, Puebla," made me hasten to the top of the ridge. My Puebla mare
had left the track. Instead of following a wide, {55} well-beaten way
down the mountain, she in her wisdom had chosen to tread the shelf of
a cliff, which, wide at the place where it sprang from the pathway,
gradually became narrower, till it was lost in the perpendicular face
of the mountain. She was under a high bulky back at the time, and
before she had quite explored the nethermost inch of the interesting
stratum which she was disposed to trace to its lowest dip, the centre
of gravity was suddenly thrown without the base, and over she reeled,
and fell ten or twelve feet among broken rocks, then rolled and tumbled
six hundred feet more of short perpendicular descents and inclined
plains, into the stream below. On descending and examining her, I found
her horribly mangled, the blood running from the nostrils, ears, and
other parts of the body. As it was apparent she would soon die, I
stripped her of her packs and gear, drove her to a plat of grass where
she could find food, should she need it, and left her to her fate.

This accident being disposed of, we emerged from this gorge, travelled
over barren gravelly plains, dotted with pyramidal hills of the same
material, whose {56} sides were belted with strata of coarse grey
sand-stone. About four o'clock P. M., Jim halted beside a little
brook, and pointing ahead, said, "Wat, ugh, u--gh;" by which I
understood that the next water on our way was too far distant to be
reached that night; and we encamped. The scenery to the west was very
beautiful. A hundred rods from our camp, in that direction, rose an
apparently perfect pyramid of regular stratified black rocks, about
six hundred feet in height, with a basilar diameter of about eight
hundred feet, and partially covered with bushes. Beyond it, some five
hundred yards, crept away a circling ridge of the same kind of rocks,
leaving a beautiful lawn between. And still beyond, sixty miles to the
south-west, through a break in the hills that lay in clusters over the
intervening country, a portion of the Anahuac range was seen, sweeping
away in the direction of the Great Salt Lake.

Jim had turned his horse loose as soon as he saw we were disposed to
encamp according to his wishes, and was away with his rifle to the
hills. In an instant he was on their heights, creeping stealthily among
the bushes and rocks; and the crack of {57} his rifle, and the tumbling
of some kind of game over the cliffs, immediately succeeded. More
nimble and sure of step than the mountain goat, he sprang down again
from cliff to cliff, reached the plain, and the next moment was in
camp, crying "hos, ugh, yes." I sent my horse and brought in his game;
a noble buck antelope, of about forty pounds weight. In consequence of
this windfall, our dog meat was thrown among the willows for the behoof
of the wolves. My guide, poor fellow, had eaten nothing since we left
the Fort. His tribe have a superstition of some kind which forbids them
the use of such meat. A dog-eater is a term of reproach among them. If
one of their number incurs the displeasure of another, he is called
"Arrapahoe," the name of the tribe previously described, who fatten
these animals for some great annual feast. Jim's creed, however, raised
no objections to the flesh of the antelope. He ate enormously, washed
himself neatly, combed his long dark hair, pulled out his beard with
his right thumb and left forefinger nails, and "turned in."

21st. Twenty miles to-day. The ride of the forenoon was over plains
and hills of coarse gravel, destitute of grass, timber, {58} or brush,
the everywhere present wild wormwood excepted; that of the afternoon
was among broken hills, alternately of gravel and brown sand, here and
there dotted with a tuft of bunch grass. From some few of the hills
protruded strata of beautiful slate. The bottom lands of the river,
even, were as barren as Sahara. The only living things seen, were the
small prairie wolf, and flocks of magpie. This bird inhabits the most
dreary portions of the mountains, and seems to delight in making the
parched and silent deserts more lonely by its ominous croak of welcome
to its desolate habitation.

The raven indeed was about us, throwing his funeral wing upon the light
of the setting sun. In fine, to-day, as often before, I found nothing
in nature from which to derive a single pulse of pleasure, save the
vastness of desolate wastes, the tombs of the washing of the flood!
Towards night, however, we were gratified by finding a few decrepid
old cotton-wood trees, on the bank of the Sheetskadee, among which to
encamp. Our horses having had little food for the last forty-eight
hours, devoured with eager appetite the dry grass along the banks.
Since {59} leaving Brown's Hole, our course had been nearly due north.

22nd. Travelled up Green River about three miles, crossed it three
times, and took to the hills on its western side. The course of the
river, as far as seen in this valley, is nearly south; the bottom
and banks generally of gravel; the face of the country a dry,
barren, undulating plain.[168] Our course, after leaving the river,
was north-west by north. About two o'clock, we struck Ham's Fork,
a tributary of Green River, and encamped near the water-side.[169]
This stream probably pours down immense bodies of water when the snow
melts upon the neighbouring highlands; for its channel, at the place
where we struck it, was half a mile in width, and two hundred feet
deep. Very little water is said to run in it during July, August and
September. The current was three or four inches in depth, a rod wide,
and sluggish. Three butes appeared in the north-east, about twelve
o'clock, fifteen miles distant. One of them resembled a vast church,
surmounted by a perpendicular shaft of rock, probably three hundred
feet in height. The swelling base resembled in colour the sands of this
region. The rock shaft was dark, probably basalt.

{60} By the side of this, springing immediately from the plain, rose
another shaft of rock, about one hundred and fifty feet high, of
regular outline, and about fifteen feet in diameter. Seven or eight
miles to the north, rose another bute, a perpendicular shaft, fifty or
sixty feet in height, resting upon a base of hills which rise about
three hundred feet above the plain. Beyond these butes, to the east,
the country seemed to be an open plain. To the south of them extends
a range of dark mountains, reaching far into the dimly-discerned
neighbourhood of Long's Peak.[170] The whole circle of vision presented
no other means of life for man or beast than a few small patches of
dry grass, and the water of the stream. Many of the sandy bluffs were
covered with the prickly pear and wild wormwood. Generally, however,
nothing green, nothing but the burnt, unproductive waste appeared,
which no art of man can reclaim. Yet far in the north, the snowy peaks
of Wind River Mountains, and to the south-west, a portion of the
Anahuac ridge indicated that it might be possible to find along the
borders of this great grave of vegetation, green vales and purling
brooks to alleviate the desolation of the scene.

We travelled fifteen miles to-day, and {61} encamped upon the bank of
the stream; cooked supper, and wrapping ourselves in our blankets,
with saddles for pillows, and curtained by the starry firmament, slept
sweetly among the overhanging willows. Near midnight, the light of
the moon aroused me. It was a lovely night. The stars seemed smaller
than they do in less elevated situations, but not less beautiful. For,
although they are not so brilliant, they burn steadily, brightly on the
hours of night in these magnificent wastes. It was midnight. The wolves
are correct time-keepers.

I had scarcely viewed the delightful scene around me, when these
sleepless sentinels of the deserts raised their midnight howl. It
rung along the chambers of the mountains, was, at intervals, taken
up by kennel after kennel, till, in the deep and distant vales, it
yielded again to the all-pervading silence of night. This is one of
the habits that instinct has taught their race. As soon as the first
light of morning appears in the east, they raise a _reveille_ howl in
the prairies of the Western States which, keeping company with the
hours, swells along the vast plains from Texas to the sources of the
Mississippi, and from Missouri to the depths of the Rocky Mountains.
All day {62} they lurk in silence. At midnight, another howl awakens
the sleeping wilderness--more horrible and prolonged; and it is
remarkable with what exactness they hit the hour.

23rd. We were up this morning before the light; and while the sun rose
in the Great Gap, mounted our jaded horses for the day's ride. As we
moved onward upon the elevated bluffs which border the river, the
light of the morning showed the butes clearly on the eastern horizon.
Jim paid little regard to the course of the stream to-day; but struck
a bee line for some object, unseen by us, across the hills--at times
among wild wormwood, at others among sharp, flinty stones, so thickly
laid over the ground that none but an Indian horse would travel over
them. We occasionally approached the stream, and were gratified with
the appearance of a few solitary old cotton-wood trees on its banks. A
poor, stinted shrub willow, too, made great effort here and there to
prolong existence, but with little success. Even in one little nook,
the wild rose, currant, and bulberry bushes had the effrontery to bear

About four o'clock, P. M., small patches of dry grass were seen
in the ravines. On one {63} of these were five buffalo; but they
proved to us more delightful to the sight than to any other sense,
since I was unable to induce my guide to halt and hunt them. This
apparently unpardonable stubbornness was afterward explained. He had
the only animal which could run fast enough to approach them--he alone
could ride him--and having lost his right thumb, protested that he
could not discharge his piece from a running horse. But having no
interpreter with us to render his furious protestations intelligible,
I attributed his unwillingness to lay in a supply of good meat here to
mere malicious indifference. At five o'clock, we came upon a plat of
excellent grass, around a clump of yellow pines. Near this, weary and
hungry, we made our camp for the night; ate the half of the meat in our
possession--a mere mite--and gorged ourselves with wild currants, which
grew plentifully among the pines, until the darkness bade us cease.
Course as yesterday: the butes out of sight during the afternoon. We
supposed we had travelled twenty miles; weather exceedingly warm.

24th. Rode on a fast trot till about three o'clock, P. M., made about
twenty-five miles. Our route lay over sandy and gravelly {64} swells,
and the bottom lands of Ham's Fork; the latter, like the former, were
well nigh destitute of vegetation.[171] When about to encamp, we had
the excellent fortune to espy an antelope on a bluff hard by. He fell
before the well levelled rifle of our one-thumbed guide. A fat one he
was too; just such an one as the imaginations of our hungry stomachs
had all the day been figuring to themselves would afford a pleasant
variety in the matter of starvation. The circle of vision, the last
day or two, had been very much circumscribed by the increasing size
of the undulating bluffs, among which our way usually ran. And from
their tops, whenever we chanced to go over them, neither the Wind River
Mountains nor the Anahuac range were visible. In all directions, to
the limit of sight, rolled away the dead, leafless, thirsty swells.
Wolves and ravens live among them; but whence they derive subsistence
is a difficult problem even for themselves to solve. Their howlings and
croakings evidently came from famished mouths.

25th. Fifteen miles to-day along the river; course as on the 24th, N.
W. by W., among the bluffs that border the stream; or if that were
tortuous, we travelled from bend {65} to bend, over the table lands on
either side. In the valley of the stream, small groves of young and
thrifty cotton-wood trees, currant bushes, and the black alder, gave
us hopes of soon seeing the grasses and flowers, and the cool springs
of the highlands, between us and the Great Beaver [Bear] River. The
day, however, was sultry; scarcely a breath of wind moved; the dust
that rose from our track lay on the air as the smoke of a village
does on a still May morning. So that these occasional appearances of
vegetable life imparted less pleasure than they would have done if we
had been able to see them through another medium than the dripping mud,
manufactured from dust and perspiration.

Near mid-day, we crossed the river from its northern to its southern
side, and were emerging from the bushes which entangled our egress,
when Jim, uttering a shrill whoop, pointing to a solitary horseman
urging his horse up the bluff a half mile below us. Beckoning him
to us, we dismounted to allow our jaded animals to feed until he
should arrive. In the style of a true mountaineer, he dashed up to
us on a rapid gallop, greeting us with as hearty a shake of the hand
as he could have bestowed {66} upon a brother, and asked our names
and destination; said his name was "Midison Gordon, an independent
trapper, that he was bound to Brown's Hole for his squaw and
'possibles,' and was glad to see us," in less time than is usually
employed in saying half as much; and accepting an invitation to encamp
with us, he continued to express his pleasure at seeing us, till our
attention was diverted from him by a halt for the night.

These remnants of the great trapping parties of the American Fur
Company,[172] commonly make Brown's Hole their winter quarters. Indeed,
I believe the owners of that post to be old trappers of the Company,
who, having lost all their relish for former habits of life, by a long
residence in the mountains, have established themselves there in order
to bring around them, not only the means of subsistence according to
their taste, but their merry old companions with their tales, jests,
and songs, and honest and brave hearts. Gordon, like all other trappers
whom I saw in the mountains, was convinced that there were so few
beaver, so little meat, and so many dangers among them, that "a white
man had no business there." He, therefore, was going for his {67} squaw
and "possibles," preparatory to descending the Columbia to open a farm
in the valley of the Willamette. He said that was also the intention of
nearly all his fellow-trappers. They proposed to take with them their
Indian wives and children, settle in one neighbourhood, and cultivate
the earth, or hunt, as inclination or necessity might suggest, and
thus pass the evening of their days among the wild pleasures of that
delightful wilderness.

26th. Course north-west; distance twenty miles; sometimes on the banks
of the river, and again over the swells, to avoid its windings. The
country through which we passed to-day, was in some respects more
interesting than any we had seen since leaving Brown's Hole. Instead
of plateaux, baked and flinty, or hills of loose unproductive loam and
sand, shorn by perpetual drought of flower, shrub, and tree, a journey
of twenty miles over which would hardly cross grass enough to feed a
dozen horses a single day, the slopes of a thousand spherical hills,
as green as the fields of the States in May, sent forth the sweet
fragrance of teeming vegetation; little streams ran away among the
black, white, and orange pebbles; and the dandelion, {68} anemone, and
other flowers rejoiced in the spring-day breezes which crept over them.
It was May indeed here. The snow had lately disappeared, and the rains
had still later been falling, as they do in April in other places. The
insects were piping the note of an opening year.

It was the dividing ridge between the tributaries of the Sheetskadee
and Great Bear River; and yet not a ridge.[173] When viewed from
its highest points, it appeared an elevated plateau of slightly
conical swells, so raised above the vast deserts on the east of it,
as to attract the moisture of the clouds. The soil of this region
is, however, poor,--not sufficient to bear timber. The grasses grow
rankly over most of its surface; and those parts which are barren are
covered with red or white sand, that contrasts beautifully with the
matted green of other portions. In a word, it was one of those places
among the mountains where all is pure. There the air is dense--the
water cold--the vegetation fresh; there the snow lies nine months
of the year, and when it eventually melts before the warm suns of
June and July, the earth is clothed with vegetation almost in a day.
About sunset, we descended a sharp declivity of broken {69} rocks,
and encamped on a small stream running north. My indefatigable Jim
Shoshonie killed an antelope for our suppers. An unexpected favour
this; for, from the representations given me of this part of my route,
I expected to commence here a long-consuming fast, which would not be
broken till I reached Fort Hall, or my grave.

27th. Our last night's encampment proved to have been on a branch of
the Great Bear River--the principal, if not the only feeder of the
Great Salt Lake.[174] We started down along its verdant little valley
about seven o'clock in the morning, and reached the main river about
twelve at noon. It was twenty yards wide--water two feet deep, and
transparent, current four miles per hour, bottom of brown sand and
gravel. After feeding our animals, we descended the river till four
o'clock, and halted on its banks for the night. We had travelled
thirty miles. The mountains which hemmed in the valley were generally
of a conical form, primitive, and often verdant. Their height varied
from five hundred to two thousand five hundred feet above the level
of the stream. The bottom lands were from one to three miles wide, of
a {70} loose, dry, gravelly soil, covered with withered bunch grass.
By the water side grew various kinds of trees, as quaking-asp, black
birch, and willows; also shrubs of various kinds, as the black alder,
small willow, wild wormwood, black currant, and service berry. In the
ravines of the mountains, groves of trees sometimes appeared peering up
luxuriantly among the black projecting cliffs.

28th. An early rising, a hurried meal, and a rapid saddling and packing
of horses, started us from camp at six o'clock. While girding our
saddle animals, the last act done in breaking up camp in mountain life,
Jim's eagle eye discerned in the distance down the river, "hos, hos."

Indian like, for we had become such in our habits, we put new caps on
our rifles, mounted quickly, and circled out behind a barricade of
brushwood, in order to ascertain the number, colour, and purpose of
such unceremonious intruders upon the territories of our solitude. Jim
peered through the leaves with the utmost intensity of an Indian's
vision. It was the place for war-parties of the Crows, Sioux, and
Blackfeet; and this early appearance of individuals approaching our
camp was a circumstance that scented strongly of bows {71} and arrows.
But suspense became certainty, a pleasant certainty, as Jim reined his
horse from concealment, and galloped away to the stranger, now within
rifle-shot of us.

A strong and warm shake of the hand, and various contortions of the
face, and uncouth gestures of recognition between them, completed their
interview, and the swarthy old trapper approached myself and men. He
was no less a personage than the bear-killer, Meek, who figures in
the St. Louis Museum, with the paws of an immense grisly bear upon his
shoulders in front, the fingers and thumb of his left hand bitten off,
while with his right hand he holds the hunter's knife, plunged deeply
in the animal's jugular vein.[175] He accosted me with, "Good morning,
how are ye?--stranger in the mountains, eh?" And before I could make a
monosyllabic reply, he continued, "Have you any meat? Come, I've got
the shoulder of a goat, (antelope); let us go back to your camp, and
cook, and eat, and talk awhile." We were harnessed for the day's ride,
and felt unwilling to lose the cool hours of the morning, and much more
so to consume the generous man's last pound of meat. Thanking him, {72}
therefore, for his honest kindness, we satisfied him with our refusal,
by the assurance that we had meat, and had already breakfasted. On
hearing that we were travelling to the Columbia river, he informed us
that we might probably go down with the Nez Percés Indians, who, he
stated, were encamped at the time on Salmon river, one day's journey
from Fort Hall. He was on his way to Brown's Hole for his squaw and
"possibles," with the design of joining their camp. These Indians would
leave their hunting grounds for their homes about ten days from that

This was another remnant of the American Fur Company's trapping
parties. He came to the mountains many years ago, and has so long
associated with Indians that his manners much resemble theirs. The same
wild, unsettled, watchful expression of the eye, the same unnatural
gesticulation in conversation, the same unwillingness to use words when
a sign, a contortion of the face or body, or movement of the hand will
manifest thought; in standing, walking, riding, in all but complexion,
he was an Indian. Bidding us good morning, and wheeling away to the
day's ride, he said, "Keep your eye shining for the Blackfeet. {73}
They are about the 'Beer Springs'; and stay, my white horse tired, one
camp down the river; was obliged to '_cache_' my pack and leave him;
use him if you can, and take him on to the Fort; and look here, I have
told you I am Meek, the bear-killer, and so I am. But I think the boys
at the museum in St. Louis might have done me up as it really was. The
beast only jumped on my back, and stripped off my blanket; scratched
some, but didn't pull my shoulder blade off. Well, after he had robbed
me of my blanket, I shoved my rifle against him, and blew out his
heart. That's all--no fingers bitten off, no knifing; I merely drove a
little lead into his palpitator."

So saying, he spurred his weary animal to a trot, and was soon hidden
among the underbrush of the intervales. Meek was evidently very
poor. He had scarcely clothing enough to cover his body; and while
talking with us, the frosty winds which sucked up the valley, made him
shiver like an aspen leaf. He reverted to his destitute situation,
and complained of the injustice of his former employers, the little
remuneration he had received for the toils and dangers he had endured
on their account, &c., a complaint which I had {74} heard from every
trapper whom I had met on my journey. The valley opened wider as we
pursued our way along its northern side; the soil, the water, and
vegetation much the same in quantity and quality as those which we
had passed on the 27th. The mountains on either hand spread into
rocky precipitous ridges, piled confusedly one above another in dark
threatening masses. Among them hung, in beautiful wildness from the
crevices of the cliffs, numerous shrub cedars.

The mountain flax was very abundant and ripe. The root resembled that
of perennial plants, the fibres that of the annual blue-bowl of the
States, the flower the same, the seed vessel the same; but the seeds
themselves were much smaller, and of a very dark brown colour. This
valley is the grain-field and root-garden of the Shoshonie Indians;
for there grow in it a number of kinds of edible roots, which they dig
in August, and dry for winter use. There is also here a kind of grass,
bearing a seed of half the size of the common rye, and similar in form.
This they also gather, and parch and store away in leather sacks, for
the season of want. These Indians had been gathering in their roots,
&c., a few {75} days previous to our arrival. I was informed, however,
that the crop was barely sufficient to subsist them while harvesting
it. But, in order to prevent their enemies from finding whatever might
have escaped their own search, they had burned over large sections
of the most productive part. This day's ride was estimated at thirty
miles. Our camp at night was in a dense copse of black alders by the
water-side. Ate our last meat for supper--no prospect of getting more
until we should arrive at Fort Hall, four days' ride.

29th. Up with the sun and on march. After an hour's ride, we came upon
Meek's white horse. He came to us on as fast a gallop, and with as
noisy a neighing as if Zimmerman had never dipt his quill in solitude,
and wrote the laws for destroying nature, for nature's good. Jim now
put spur to his noble animal, with the regularity of the march of
the tread-mill. And, by way of apology for his haste, pointed to the
ground, and laying his head on one shoulder, and snoring, said, "u--gh,
ugh," which being interpreted, meant that our next snoring place was
a very, very long day's journey away. And one acquainted with Indian
firmness, would have read in {76} his countenance, while making this
communication, a determination to reach it before nightfall, whatever
might be the consequences. And so we did. At sunset our camp kettle
was bubbling over the bones of a pelican at the "Steamboat spring."
The part of the valley seen to-day was generally covered with a stout
coat of bunch grass. This, and other indications, led me to suppose it
fertile. Yet it appeared questionable if it would yield the ordinary
fruits of agriculture without being irrigated.[176]

I noticed, however, during the day's ride, a number of points at which
the waters of the river might be conducted over very large tracts of
excellent soil. The scarcity of fencing timber appeared an obstacle,
certainly; but other than this, there seemed to me no considerable
cause of doubt that the valley of the Great Bear River will, in the
course of time, become one of the most prosperous abodes of cultivated
life. Its situation, so remote from either ocean, only increases our
expectation of such an event, when it is recollected that the most
practicable waggon route between the States and Oregon Territory and
the Californias, runs through it.

The north end of the Great Salt Lake is {77} thirty miles from our
present encampment, and the mountains on the borders of the valley are
more abrupt and craggy, the water of the stream more abundant, and the
soil more productive, than in the part already described. A number of
creeks also entering the main stream from the East, open up among the
black heights a number of lesser and charming vales; and around the
union of the river with the Lake are excellent water, soil and timber,
under skies of perpetual spring. Of the Lake itself I heard much from
different individuals who had visited different portions of its coast.

The substance of their statements, in which they all agree, is that it
is about two hundred miles long, eighty or one hundred wide; the water
exceedingly heavy; and so salt, say they in their simple way, that
pieces of wood dipped in it and dried in the sun are thickly frosted
with pure white salt; that its coasts are generally composed of swells
of sand and barren brown loam, on which sufficient moisture does not
fall to sustain any other vegetation than the wild wormwood and prickly
pear; that all attempts to go round it in canoes have, after a day
or two of trial, been abandoned {78} for want of fresh water; that
the Great Bear River is the only considerable stream putting into it;
that high land is seen near the centre of it;--but whether this be an
island or a long peninsula there was a difference of opinion among my
informants. The valleys of the Great Bear River and its tributaries, as
well as the northern portion of the Lake, are supposed to be within the
territory of the States.[177]

The immediate neighbourhood of our encampment is one of the most
remarkable in the Rocky Mountains. The facts that the trail to Oregon
and California will for ever of necessity, pass within three hundred
yards of the place where our camp fire is burning; that near this spot
must be erected a resting-place for the long lines of caravans between
the harbours of the Pacific and the waters of the Missouri, would of
themselves interest all who are witnessing the irresistible movements
of civilization upon the American continent. But this spot has other
objects of interest: its Geology and its Mineralogy, and I might well
say the Chemistry of it, (for there are laboratories and gases here
in the greatest profusion), will hereafter occupy the attention of
the lovers of these sciences. The Soda Springs, called {79} by the
fur traders Beer Springs, are the most remarkable objects of the kind
within my knowledge. They are situated on the north-west side of the
river, a few rods below a grove of shrub cedars, and about two hundred
yards from the shore. There are six groups of them; or in other words,
there are six small hollows sunken about two feet below the ground
around, of circular form, seven or eight feet in diameter, in which are
a number of fountains sending up large quantities of gas and water, and
emitting a noise resembling the boiling of immense cauldrons. These
pools are usually clear, with a gravelly bottom. In some of them,
however, grow bogs or hassocks of coarse grass, among which are many
little wells, where the water bubbled so merrily that I was tempted
to drink at one of them. But as I proceeded to do so, the suffocating
properties of the gas instantly drove me from my purpose. After this
rebuff, however, I made another attempt at a more open fountain, and
drank with little difficulty.

The waters appeared to be more highly impregnated with soda and acid
than those of Saratoga; were extremely pleasant to the taste, and fumed
from the {80} stomach like the soda water of the shops. Some of them
threw off at least four gallons of gas a second. And although they
cast up large masses of water continually, for which there appeared
no outlet, yet at different times of observation I could perceive no
increase or diminution of the quantity visible. There are five or six
other springs in the bank of the river just below, the waters of which
resemble those I have described. One of them discharges about forty
gallons a minute.

One fourth of a mile down stream from the Soda Spring, is what is
called "The Steamboat Spring." The orifice from which it casts its
water is in the face of a perpendicular rock on the brink of the
stream, which seems to have been formed by the depositions of the
fountain. It is eight inches in diameter. Six feet from this, and on
the horizontal plane of the rock, is another orifice in the cavern
below. On approaching the spring, a deep gurgling, hissing sound is
heard underground. It appears to be produced by the generating of gas
in a cavernous receiver. This, when the chamber is filled, bursts
through another cavern filled with water, which it thrusts frothing
and foaming into the stream. In {81} passing the smaller orifice, the
pent gas escapes with very much the same sound as steam makes in the
escape-pipe of a steamboat. Hence the name. The periods of discharge
are very irregular. At times, they occur once in two, at others, once
in three, four or five minutes. The force of its action also is subject
to great variation. Those who have been there, often say that its noise
has been heard to echo far among the hills. When I visited it I could
not hear it at the distance of two hundred yards. There is also said
to be a difference at different times in the temperature of the water.
When I examined it, it was a little above blood heat. Others have seen
it much higher.

The most remarkable phenomenon connected with these springs, remains
yet to be noticed. The whole river, from the Steamboat spring to the
Soda Springs, (a distance of more than a fourth of a mile), is a sheet
of springs, thousands in number, which bursting through two feet of
superincumbent running water, throw their foaming jets, some six
inches, and some less, above the surface. The water is much the same in
its constituent qualities, as that of the Soda springs.[178]

{82} There are in the immediate vicinity of the Steamboat Spring, and
on the opposite side of the river numerous rocks with orifices in their
centres, and other evidences of having been formed by intermittent
springs that have long ago ceased to act.

The scenery around these wonderful fountains, is very wild. To the east
north-east, opens up the upper valley of Great Bear River, walled in
on either side by dark primitive mountains, beetling over the vale,
and towering on the sky. To the south south-west sweeps away the lower
valley.--On either side of it rise lofty mountains of naked rocks, the
wild sublimity of which contrasts strikingly with the sweet beauty of
the stream and vale below.

Although statements in regard to what shall transpire in the future,
are always a work more befitting a seer than a journalist, yet I cannot
forbear expressing the belief that the healthiness and beauty of their
locality--the magnificence of the scenery on the best routes to them
from the States and from the Pacific, the manifest superiority of these
waters over any others, will cause "The Soda Springs" to be thronged
with the gay and fashionable of both sides of the continent.

{83} 30th. Our sleep had been interrupted at midnight by the blazing
fires of an Indian encampment on a neighbouring hill. And once awakened
by such a cause, the tracks of a war party, probably of Blackfeet,
which we had crossed during the day, were sufficient to put us on duty
the remainder of the night. At early dawn, we saddled and moved in
silence a few hundred yards down the river, turned to the right around
the Bute in the rear of the Steamboat spring, entered the "Valley
of chasms," and soon brought the mountains on its northern border,
between us and our suspicious neighbours.

This valley derives its name from the numerous cracks or chasms in the
volcanic rocks on which it rests. They are so wide and deep that the
natives, for many miles at the lower part of it, have been obliged to
run their trail over the lower swells of the hills on its north-western
side. Up this trail Jim rode on a brisk trot, beckoning us, in an
ominous manner to follow, and keep in a body near him. The "cut rock"
and scoriæ lay every where, and crippled the poor animals at almost
every step. Onward he led us, with all the speed which the severest
inflictions of spur and whip could {84} produce, till the shutting in
of night deposited us among the willows on the stream of the valley,
forty miles from our last night's encampment. The rapidity of our
travelling to-day, allowed me little time to examine this singular
valley. I noticed merely that it was, like the intervales of Bear
River, covered with bunch-grass, which the thirsty suns of summer had
dried to hay. A curious gas spring also attracted my attention about
nine o'clock in the morning. Its bubbling and its beautiful reservoir
appeared to arouse the admiration even of my dogged guide Jim: he
halted to look at it. Jim, for the first time since I had had the
honour of his acquaintance, absolutely stopped to look at, and admire a
portion of the earth. It was a fine specimen of Nature's masonry. The
basin was about six feet in diameter; the bottom a circular horizontal
plane; around the edge rose a rim or flanche, eight inches in height;
all one solid rock. In the centre of the bottom arose the gas and
water: the latter was six inches deep, limpid, and slightly acid. This
fountain was situated a few rods to the right of the trail.

31st. We took to our saddles, and in three hours reached the foot of
the mountains {85} which divide the "Valley of chasms" from Snake
River. There is a wide depression through the heights here of so gentle
a declination, that loaded waggons can pass from one valley to the
other without difficulty. Up this we turned. It was covered with green
grass and shrubs and trees, among which a little brook was whispering
to the solitude.[179]

The small birds, too, were chirping among the bright flowers and
bending boughs; and on either hand, as if to guard so much loveliness
from the winds of surrounding desolation, the black crags rose and
frowned one thousand five hundred feet in air. But hunger!! Every bud
was fed; every bird had its nourishment; the lizards even were not
starving. We were. When about half way up the gorge, one of Smith's
horses tired and refused to go farther. The fellow's wound, received in
the plains, had healed; and with strength from time to time, his petty
tyranny towards his animals increased till being entirely recovered,
he seemed to have resumed a degree of malignity towards them whenever
they did not chance to comprehend his wishes, or were unable to comply
with them, that would be incredible if described. In this case, he {86}
cut a strong goad; and following the slow steps of the worn-out animal,
struck her lengthwise over the almost denuded ribs as frequently and as
long as he had strength to do it; and then would rest and strike again
with renewed vengeance, until his beast dropped her head and received
his blows without a movement. Remonstrance, and the astonished gazing
of my savage guide, only increased his severity. And thus he continued
to beat the poor animal, till, being convinced against his will, that
he even could not make a dying horse heed his command, he bestowed upon
her a farewell kick and curse and left her.

About four o'clock we stood on the high ground which divides the
waters of the little brook which we had followed up, from a small
head stream of Portneuf. The valley of the great southern branch of
the Columbia, was spread out before us. Slaking our thirst at a cool
spring, we travelled five miles down the mountain, and encamped in
sight of the Trois Butes.[180] When we halted, I was too much exhausted
with hunger and fatigue to unsaddle my horse. We had been on short
allowance most of the time since leaving Fort David Crockett. The day
on which we arrived at the Soda Springs, I ate {87} the eighth part
of a pelican; the two last past days, nothing. But I suffered less
from the gnawings of hunger than I had on the previous night. A deadly
stupor pervaded the gastric and nervous systems; a sluggish action of
the heart, a dimness of vision and painful prostration of every energy
of life were creeping upon me. After a little rest, however, I crept to
the bushes, and after a long search, found two red rosebuds! These I
gladly ate, and went to my couch to dream of feasts.

The 1st of September was a fine day. The sun was bright and unclouded,
as he came in his strength over the eastern mountains, and awakened us
from our slumbers among the alders on the bank of Portneuf. Hunger,
indeed, was still gnawing at our vitals. But sleep had banished
weariness, and added something to the small stock of our remaining
strength; and the recollection of past perils--perils of floods, of
tempests, of Indian foes--death threatened at every step during a
journey of three months in the plains and mountains--the inspiring
view of the vale of the great southern branch of the Columbia, so
long promised us in hope along our weary way--the fact that we were
in Oregon, unmoored the mind from {88} its anxieties, and shed over
us a gladness which can only be comprehended by those who, having
suffered as we had, have viewed as we did, from some bright height,
their sufferings ended, in the rich, ripe possession of the objects so
ardently sought. We were in Oregon. Fort Hall lay in the plain before
us. Its hospitalities would be enjoyed ere sunset. Our wardrobes were
overhauled, our razors put on duty, our sunburnt frames bathed in the
Portneuf; and equipped in our best, our hearts beat joyfully back
the rapid clattering of our horses' hoofs on the pavements of the
mountains, as we rushed to the plains. An hour among the sands and wild
wormwood, an hour among the oozing springs, and green grass around
them, an hour along the banks of Saptin River, and we passed a line of
timber springing at right angles into the plain; and before us rose the
white battlements of Fort Hall![181]

As we emerged from this wood, Jim intimated that we should discharge
our rifles; and as we did so, a single armed horseman issued from the
gate of the Fort approached us warily, and skulking among the copses,
scanned us in the most inquisitive manner. Having satisfied himself
at {89} last that our skins were originally intended to be white, he
came alongside; and learning that we were from the States; that we had
no hostile intentions; that we knew Mr. Walker to be in the Fort, and
would be glad to have our compliments conveyed to him, he returned;
and Mr. Walker immediately appeared.[182] A friendly salutation was
followed by an invitation to enter the Fort; and a "welcome to Fort
Hall," was given in a manner so kind and obliging, that nothing seemed
wanting to make us feel that we were at home. A generous flagon of Old
Jamaica, wheaten bread, and butter newly churned, and buffalo tongues
fresh from the neighbouring mountains, made their appearance as soon
as we had rid ourselves of the equipage and dust of journeying, and
allayed the dreadful sense of starvation.


[164] This was the party of which Dr. Wislizenus of St. Louis was
a member (see _ante_, p. 173, note 108). They left the frontier in
a caravan of twenty-seven persons, of whom nine were employés of
Chouteau's fur company, and the others heterogeneous travellers and
immigrants. Wislizenus had intended to go on to Oregon and then to
California; but the divisions in the party, and the lateness of the
season, determined him to return from Fort Hall. Two of his companions
joined him, and they engaged Richardson, who had taken the outward
journey in the capacity of hunter, to guide them back, purposing to
take the southerly route on the return. Dr. Wislizenus had undertaken
this journey for the sake of his health, as well as in order to see
the marvels of the Western mountains. Richardson was chief hunter for
Wyeth's party in 1833. Townsend well describes him in his _Narrative_,
in our volume xxi, pp. 152-155; see also pp 171, 211, 255, 256,

[165] John S. Griffin (not Griffith) was a native (1807) of Castleton,
Vermont, educated in New England, but taking a theological course at
Oberlin, where he was graduated in 1838. He prepared to go out to
the Indians as an independent missionary, and was dispatched by the
Congregational church in Litchfield, Connecticut. Having engaged Asahel
Munger, a skilled mechanic, to accompany him, he stopped in St. Louis
long enough to marry, and left the frontier the last of April, 1839.
At Fort Hall, Griffin, because of some differences, left Munger and
pushed on to Lapwai, where he spent the winter, Munger having meanwhile
joined Dr. Whitman who gladly employed him at his mission for a year
and a half. In the spring of 1840 Griffin attempted a mission to the
Shoshoni; but becoming discouraged, pressed on to Fort Vancouver,
where he spent the second winter, establishing in 1841 a settlement
at Tualatin Plains, near the present Hillsboro. He was active in
establishing the provisional government, being suggested as candidate
for governor, but opposed on account of his profession. Griffin was the
editor of the first Oregon magazine, _Oregon American and Evangelical
Unionist_, eight numbers of which were published (1848-49). He
established a Congregational church, the first in Washington County,
and lived in Oregon until his death in February, 1899. Munger became
deranged, and as a religious test cast himself into fire, dying from
his injuries, near Salem, Oregon.--ED.

[166] Sometimes spoken of as the bilberry, but more commonly
as the service berry, the fruit of the shad-bush (_Amelanchier

[167] What is now known as the Red Cañon, from the color of its
sand-stone walls. See Dellenbaugh, _Romance of the Colorado River_, p.

[168] Farnham had now entered what is known as the Green River valley,
that portion of the river above the gorges (or cañons) where the banks
are comparatively level. He here joined the Oregon Trail from the
east, which came by way of the Sweetwater River and South Pass; see
Townsend's _Narrative_, in our volume xxi, pp. 183-195. This valley
was, in 1833-34 and later, the site of several famous rendezvous of
fur-traders. See Irving, _Rocky Mountains_, chapter xx.--ED.

[169] For Ham's Fork, which is an affluent of Black Fork of Green, see
Townsend's _Narrative_ in our volume xxi, p. 197, note 43.--ED.

[170] For Long's Peak see our volume xv, p. 271, note 126. It must have
been some nearer peak, however, which Farnham mistook for Long's; the
latter was over a hundred and fifty miles distant.--ED.

[171] The Oregon Short Line follows this route, up Ham's Fork.--ED.

[172] For the American Fur Company see Maximilian's _Travels_ in our
volume xxii, p. 232, note 159.--ED.

[173] Known as Bear River Divide, in Unita County, south-west

[174] For a description see our volume xxi, p. 199, note 44.--ED.

[175] Col. Joseph L. Meek (1810-75) was one of the most picturesque
of the "mountain men" who settled in Oregon. An extended account of
his adventures was published by Frances Fuller Victor, under the title
_River of the West_ (Hartford, 1870). Born in Washington County,
Virginia, he left home while still a boy, and in 1829 joined Sublette's
caravan for the mountain trade. During eleven years he experienced
adventures similar to those of other hunters and trappers, in one of
which he killed a grizzly bear. The Englishman Stuart (see our volume
xxi, p. 197, note 42), coming up with his artist Miller, had a sketch
made of the beast which was afterwards elaborated into a picture, and
later a wax model for the St. Louis Museum (_River of the West_, pp.
220-223). Meek went out to Oregon in 1840, settling on Tualatin Plains,
where he was active in establishing the provisional government, of
which he was first sheriff. After the Whitman massacre of 1847 he was
the accredited messenger to Washington, D. C., to obtain consideration
for the condition of Oregon. His visit to the East was replete with
amusing adventures. Returning as United States marshal, he acted as
guide to the party sent to escort to his post the first American
governor of Oregon, General Joseph Lane. Meek was prominent in Oregon
throughout his later life, being generally known as "Uncle Joe," and
he aided in founding the Pioneer Association. See Oregon Pioneer
Association _Transactions_, 1875. His meeting with Farnham is mentioned
by Frances Fuller Victor in _River of the West_, p. 256. For a portrait
of Meek, see the frontispiece to that volume, also Lyman, _History of
Oregon_, iii, p. 66.--ED.

[176] Irrigation has made considerable progress in Bear River valley,
chiefly under the auspices of the settlers of that region.--ED.

[177] Great Salt Lake has one long promontory and several islands. By
his use of the term "territory of the States," Farnham assumes that
Bear valley and a portion of Great Salt Lake lie north of the 42nd
parallel of latitude, then the boundary with Mexico; see our volume
xix, p. 217, note 52. Actually, only a portion of Bear River and none
of Great Salt Lake are north of that latitude.--ED.

[178] See a previous description of this region in Townsend's
_Narrative_, our volume xxi, p. 200. See also Frémont's description,
_Senate Docs._, 28 Cong., 2 sess., 174, pp. 135-138.--ED.

[179] See De Smet's description of this defile in our volume xxvii, p.

[180] See Townsend's _Narrative_ in our volume xxi, p. 209, note 49;
also p. 249, note 124, of De Smet's _Letters_ in our volume xxvii.--ED.

[181] See account of founding of Fort Hall in Townsend's _Narrative_,
our volume xxi, pp. 210, 211, with accompanying note.--ED.

[182] This may have been Courtney M. Walker, who came out with the Lees
in 1834. He had charge of much of Wyeth's business, and may have been
employed by the Hudson's Bay Company. Wislizenus and Robert Shortess,
both of whom were at Fort Hall in the same year, before and after
Farnham, speaks of Francis Ermatinger as factor in charge, although
Wislizenus also mentions Walker.--ED.


  The Rocky Mountains and their Spurs--Geography of the
    Mountain Region--Wyeth--The Outset--The Beaver Catcher's
    Bride--Trois Butes--Addition from a Monastery--Orisons--A
    Merry Mountain Trapper--Root Diggers--Enormous
    Springs--Volcanic Hearths and Chasms--Carbo--An old Chief--A
    Bluff--Boisais River--Incident of Trade--The Bonaks--The
    Dead Wail--Fort Boisais, its Salmon, Butter and Hearty
    Cheer--Mons. Payette--Curiosity--Departure--Passing the
    Blue Mountains--The Grandeur of them--Their Forests,
    Flowers, and Torrents--Descent of the Mountains--Plain,
    a Christian Crane--Arrival at Dr. Whitman's
    Ermitinger--Blair--Nez Percés--Racing--Indian Horse
    Training--Sabbath and its joys in the Wilderness.

It will not be uninteresting while pausing here, and making
preparations to descend Snake, Lewis, or Saptin river,[183] to lead
my readers back over that portion of my journey which lay among the
mountains. I do not design to retrace my steps here, however, in
order again to attempt a description of sufferings which can never be
described. They are past; and let their remembrance {91} die. But a
succinct account of the region lying west of the Anahuac ridge, and
between latitudes 39° and 42° north--its mountains, its plains, its
rivers, &c., will, I persuade myself, be new, and not without interest
to the reader.

James' Peak, Pike's Peak, and Long's Peak, may be called the outposts
of a lofty range of rocky mountains, which, for convenience in
description, I have called Long's Range, extending nearly due north
from the Arkansas, in latitude 39°, to the Great Gap in latitude 42°

The range is unconnected with any other. It is separated from the Wind
River Mountains by the Great Gap or Great Southern Pass, and from the
Great Anahuac Range by the upper valleys of the Arkansas, those of the
South Fork of the Platte, and those of the Green and Grand rivers. Two
spurs spring off from it to the west: the one from James' Peak, the
other from Long's Peak. These spurs, as they proceed westward, dip
lower and lower till they terminate--the first in the rough cliffs
around the upper waters of the Arkansas, and the latter in spherical
sand-hills around the lower waters of Grand river.[185] The Anahuac
Mountains were seen from about latitude 39° to {92} 42° north. This
range lies about two hundred miles west of Long's Range, and between
latitude 39 and 40°, has a general course of north north-west. It
appeared an unbroken ridge of ice and snow, rising in some points, I
think, more than fifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea. From
latitude 41° it tends to the north-west by west, past the north-eastern
shore of the Great Salt Lake to the northern end of it; and thence
westwardly to a point south of Portneuf, where it unites with the
range of the Snowy Mountains.

The Snowy Mountains are a transverse range or spur of the Rocky
Mountains, which run from the Wind River Mountains, latitude 42°
north, in nearly a right line to Cape Mendocino, latitude 40°, in
Upper California. Many portions of this range, east as well as west of
Fort Hall, are very lofty, and covered with perpetual snow. About one
hundred miles from the coast of the Pacific it intersects that range
of snowy peaks called the President's Range, which comes down from
Puget's sound, and terminates in the arid plains about the mouth of the
Colorado of the West.[186]

{93} The Wind River Mountains are a spur which shoots from the great
northern chain, commonly called the Rocky Mountains, in latitude 42°
and odd minutes north; and running in a south-easterly direction into
the Great Prairie Wilderness, forms the northern wall of the Great Gap
or Great Southern Pass.[187]

On the northern side of the Wind River Peaks, are the sources of
Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers;[188] on the south-eastern
side rises the Sweetwater, the north-western-most branch of the North
Fork of the Great Platte; on the southern side the Sheetskadee or
Green river, the northern branch of the Colorado of the West; on the
north-western side and north of the Snowy Mountains, spring down
the Saptin, Snake, or Lewis river, the great southern branch of the

On the western side of Long's Range, rises the Grand river, the
principal branch of the Colorado of the West.[189] It furnishes four
times the quantity of water that Green river does. Further south, in
the vicinity of James' Peak, and on the west side of this range, rises
the South Fork of the Great Platte.[190]

Close under the eastern base of the Anahuac {94} or Great Main Ridge,
and nearly in latitude 39½° north, are the sources of the Arkansas.

The immense parallelogram lying within these ranges of mountains, may
be described by saying that it is a desert of arid plains and minor
mountains. And if this general appellation be qualified by the accounts
given on previous pages of Boyou Salade, Old Park, &c. very small
portions of the whole area, the description will be complete.

Fort Hall was built by Captain Wyeth, of Boston in 1832, for the
purposes of trade with the Indians in its vicinity. He had taken goods
into the lower part of the Territory, to exchange for salmon. But
competition soon drove him from his fisheries to this remote spot,
where he hoped to be permitted to purchase furs of the Indians without
being molested by the Hudson's Bay Company, whose nearest post was
seven hundred miles away.[191]

In this he was disappointed. In pursuance of the avowed doctrine of
that company, that no others have a right to trade in furs west of the
Rocky Mountains, whilst the use of capital and their incomparable skill
and perseverance can prevent it, they established a fort near him,
preceded him, {95} followed him, surrounded him every where, and cut
the throat of his prosperity with such kindness, and politeness, that
Wyeth was induced to sell his whole interest, existent and prospective,
in Oregon, to his generous but too indefatigable, skilful, and powerful

From what I saw and heard of Wyeth's management in Oregon, I was
impressed with the belief that he was, beyond comparison, the most
talented business-man from the States that ever established himself in
the Territory.

The business of this post consists in exchanging blankets, ammunition,
guns, tobacco, &c., with the neighbouring Indians, for the skins of the
beaver and land otter; and in furnishing white men with traps, horses,
saddles, bridles, provisions, &c., to enable them to hunt these animals
for the benefit and sole use of the owners, the Hudson's Bay Company.
In such cases the horses are borrowed without price; the other articles
of the "outfit" sold on credit till the termination of the hunt; and
the only security which the Company requires for the return of their
animals, is the pledge of honour to that effect, and that the furs
taken shall be appropriated at a stipulated price to the payment of

{96} Goods are sold at this establishment fifty per cent lower than at
the American posts. White trappers are paid a higher price for their
furs than is paid the Indians; are charged less for the goods which
they receive in exchange; and are treated in every respect by this
shrewd Company with such uniform justice, that the American trappers
even are fast leaving the service of their countrymen, for the larger
profits and better treatment of British employment. There is also
a company of men connected with this Fort, under the command of an
American mountaineer, who, following various tribes in their migratory
expeditions in the adjacent American and Mexican domain, collect
whatever furs may chance to be among them.

By these means, and various others subsidiary to them, the gentlemen in
charge of this trading establishment, collected, in the summer of 1839,
more than thirty packs of the best beaver of the mountains.

We spent the 2nd and 3rd most agreeably with Mr. Walker, in his
hospitable adobie castle; exchanged with him our wearied horses for
fresh ones; and obtained dried buffalo meat, sugar, cocoa, tea, and
corn meal, a guide, and every other necessary within that gentleman's
{97} power to furnish for our journey to Wallawalla. And at ten
o'clock, A. M., of the 4th of September, we bade adieu to our very
obliging countryman, and took to our saddles on the trail down the
desert banks of the Saptin. As we left the Fort, we passed over the
ground of an affray, which originated in love and terminated in death.
Yes, love on the western declivity of the Rocky Mountains! and love of
a white man for an Indian dame!

It appeared that a certain white trapper had taken to himself a certain
bronze damsel of the wilderness to be his slave-wife, with all the
solemn ceremonies of purchase and payment for the same in sundry
horses, dogs, and loads of ammunition, as required by the custom in
such affairs governing; and that by his business of trapping for
beaver, &c., he was, soon after the banns were proclaimed, separated
from his beloved one, for the term of three months and upwards, much
against his tender inclination and interest, as the following showeth:
for during the terms of his said absence, another white man, with
intent to injure, &c., spoke certain tender words unto the said
trapper's slave-wife, which had the {98} effect to alienate from him
the purchased and rightfully possessed affections of his slave-spouse,
in favour of her seducer. In this said condition did the beaver-catcher
find his bride when he came in from the hunt. He loaded his rifle, and
killed the robber of his heart. The grave of the victim is there--a
warning to all who would trifle with the vested rights of an American
trapper in the love of an Indian beauty.

We made about ten miles, and halted for the night. Our guide displayed
himself a five feet nine inch stout Wallawalla.[192] He had been in
the service of the Hudson Bay Company many years, and was consequently
assiduous and dutiful. Yes, consequently so; for neither Indian nor
white man is long in their service without learning his place, and
becoming active and faithful in doing his duty. As soon as we entered
camp, our pack-horses were stripped of their burdens, and turned loose
to feed; wood was gathered, and a fire blazing under the kettles, and
"all out door" immediately rendered as comfortable to us, as skies
spangled with stars, and earth strewn with snowy sand could be made.
Wallawalla was a jolly oddity of a mortal. The frontal region of his
head had been pressed in infancy {99} most aristocratically into the
form of the German idiots; his eyes were forced out upon the corners of
the head; his nose hugged the face closely like a bunch of affectionate
leeches; hair black as a raven, and flowing over a pair of herculean
shoulders; and feet----but who can describe that which has not its like
under the skies. Such was Carbo, our Palinurus over the burnt plains of
Snake River.

The short ride of the day had shown us the western limit of the
partial fertility about Fort Hall. The earth had begun to be red,
burnt, and barren; grass, sparse and dry; the shrubs and cotton-woods
stinted and shrivelled.

The plain of the Trois Butes is situated between the Snowy mountain
range on the south, and another ridge which, diverging from it above
the sources of the Saptin River, follows that stream down to the Blue
Mountains near Wallawalla. This plain by experiment is found to be
eight thousand feet above the level of the sea. In the vicinity of
the post, there is an abundance of grass for the subsistence of many
thousands of animals. The soil, in various parts of it, also appears
well adapted to the cultivation of the small grains and esculent roots.
But {100} the fact that frosts occur almost every month of the year,
shows the extent to which the arable sections can be rendered available
for such purposes.

The Trois Butes rise on the plain fifteen or twenty miles east of the
Fort.[193] They are pyramidal peaks, probably of volcanic origin, of
two thousand feet in height above the plain, and twelve thousand feet
above the level of the sea. Around their dark bases grow evergreen
trees; from their sides burst small brooks, rendering verdant strips
of the plain which radiate beautifully in all directions from them;
and over all, during most of the year, hang their crests of glittering
snows! East of the Butes, vegetation continually decreases till it
ceases in the black crags which embosom the head streams of the river.

On the 5th, travelled thirty miles down the western bank of the
river;[194] soil sandy and volcanic, bearing wild wormwood--in fact
a desert; crossed a number of small streams putting into the Saptin;
on these a little bunch of grass, and a few alders and willows, tried
to grow. Whilst baiting at noon, we were agreeably surprised with an
addition to our company, of a young Swiss trapper, eight years in the
mountains; he {101} learned the silversmith business when in youth;
afterwards entered a monastery and studied Latin, &c., for the order
of Priests; ran away from the monastery, entered the French army,
deserted, and came to America; sickened, was visited by a Roman priest
who had been a classmate with him at the monastery; and having had a
more numerous family than was required by the canons of his order,
had fled to America, where his orisons would not be disturbed by the
cries of infants. On entering our trapper's chamber they mutually
recognized each other; and horror immediately seized the pious priest
at the recollection of the trapper's sinfulness; and particularly the
sin of forsaking the holy places of the mother church; of taking carnal
weapons in hands that had been employed in making crosses in the sacred
precincts of the cloister. The trapper had contracted the dangerous
habit of thinking for himself, and replied to the godly man in a sharp
and retaliatory manner; and among other things drew a very ungracious
comparison between escaping from prayers and chants, and flying from an
unlawful family.

This reference to former delinquencies in {102} a country to which
he had fled to escape the remembrance of them, aroused the holy
indignation of the priest to such an extent, that he immediately
consigned the witness of his fault to worms, and his soul to an
apprenticeship at fire eating in purgatory. Our trapper had become
a heretic. In the blindness of his heart he had forgotten that the
power to save and destroy the soul of man, had been committed to an
order of men chosen, and set apart as the repositories of that portion
of Omnipotence; and that whatever errors of conduct may occur in the
life of these men, the efficiency of the anathematizing and saving
commission is not thereby annulled; and he rose from his bed and
hurled at the priest sundry counter anathemas in the form of chairs,
and shovel and tongs. I could perceive in him no returning belief in
the Omnipotent key of the "Roman Catholic apostolical mother Church."
Instead of saying his prayers, and counting the beads of his rosary, he
talked of the stirring scenes of a trapper's life, and recounted the
wild adventures of the mountains; instead of the sublime Te Deum, he
sang the thrilling martial airs of his native land; instead of {103}
the crosier, he bore the faithful rifle; instead of the robes of sacred
office, he wore the fringed deer skin frock of the children of the
wilderness. He was a trapper--a merry mountain trapper.

6th. Twenty-five miles to-day; face of the country, black, hard and
barren swells; encamped on a small tributary of the Saptin; very little
grass for the animals; found here a family of the Root Digger Indians;
the man half clad, children naked, all filthy. She was clad in a
wrapper of mountain sheep skin.[195]

7th. Twenty miles. About mid-day heard a loud roaring of waters;
descended the chasm of the river and discovered two enormous springs
bursting from the basaltic cliffs of the opposite shore. Their roaring
was heard three miles. The lower one discharged water enough to turn
the machinery of twenty ordinary manufactories. The water foamed and
rushed down inclined planes of rocks the distance of two hundred
feet.[196] The country, an undulating, barren, volcanic plain; near
the river cut into bluffs; lava every where; wild wormwood and another
shrub two feet in height, bearing a yellow blossom, the only wood seen;
encamped on a small stream about three miles {104} from the river.
Found here the only grass which I had observed during the day.

8th. Still on the western bank of the Saptin; river one-fourth of a
mile wide; water extremely clear; current five miles the hour; depth
of water about four feet. On the eastern side, the soil appeared a
dark mass of imbedded fused rock, stretching in broken undulations
to the distant highlands. In that direction twenty miles lay a range
of mountains like an irregular line of darkness on the horizon.
Every thing touched by our horses' feet claimed a volcano for its
birth-place. Thirty miles to-day.

9th. Face of the country the same as that passed over on the
8th--scarcely grass enough to feed our animals, and that dried to hay.
The mountains on the west side of the river gradually nearing it. No
timber since we left the immediate vicinity of Fort Hall. We cooked our
food with the willow bushes which the Indians had killed and rendered
dry for such purposes. All the rocks more or less fused; many large
tracts of lava; a number of clear little brooks bubbling over the
cinders of this great hearth of Nature's fire. Made forty miles.

10th. Fifteen miles over "cut rock" and wormwood deserts; and at
mid-day descended {105} about six hundred feet in the chasm of the
Saptin, and travelled along the brink of the river a short distance;
crossed at a place called "The Islands," to the eastern shore.[197]

The river has been dipping deeper in the plain the last three days. A
bird's eye view of it for sixty miles above the Islands would present
a tortuous chasm, walled by basalt, trap, &c., and sunk along the
centre of the valley, from one hundred to eight hundred feet deep, a
black chasm, destitute of timber and other evidences of fertility,
from a quarter to half a mile in width. In the centre of the bottom
rushes the Saptin; over rocks and gravel a clear, pure, strong stream,
with a current of five miles to the hour; water three and four feet in
depth. Travelled seven or eight miles from the ford and fell in with
eight or ten springs of limpid water, bubbling through the flinty crust
of the plain. The sun was pouring upon us his fiercest rays, and our
thirst was excessive. A halting, dismounting and rushing to the water,
the application of our giant's lips to the liquid--a paralysis of his
thirst produced by the boiling hot sensation which it imparted to his
swearing apparatus, prepared us to resume our ride. Hot springs, {106}
boiling hot--no apparent mineral properties.[198]

11th. Travelled to-day thirty-five miles over an irregular, rough,
unseemly desert; volcanic stones strewn every where on a black,
impenetrable, baked surface; soil too poor to bear the wormwood--trail
too far east to see the river. At ten o'clock, met a petty chief of
the Snake Root Diggers and his son on horseback, from Boisais river. He
was dressed in a blanket coat, deer skin pants, and moccasins garnished
with cut glass beads and strips of red flannel; the boy entirely naked.
Carbo learned from him the situation of his tribe, and a few bits of
Indian scandal, ascertained that we could reach Boisais river the
next day, and that we could probably obtain fresh horses there. His
copper-coloured highness than left us to pursue his way to Fort Hall,
to get his guns repaired, and we continued ours to the lower Columbia,
to get out of this grave of desolation. I had not seen an acre of land
since leaving Fort Hall, capable of producing the grains or vegetables.
Encamped on a small brook running westwardly towards the Saptin.

12th. On route at six o'clock in the morning; horses weary, and getting
crippled {107} pitifully on the "cut rock;" face of the country
absolute sterility; our trail near the mountains, about two hundred
miles east of the Saptin.[199] At nine o'clock, came to the bluff
overlooking Boisais river. Here the valley is sunken six or seven
hundred feet; the whole of it below, to the limit of sight, appears to
have subsided nearly to a level with the waters of the Saptin. Lines
of timber ran along the Boisais, and plats of green grass and shrubs
dotted its banks. The mountains, whence the river came, rose in dark
stratified ridges. Where the stream escaped from them, there was an
immense chasm, with perpendicular sides, which seemed to open into
their most distant bases. Horrid crags beetled over its dismal depths.
Lofty, rocky ridges extended far into the north. In the west and
north-west towered the Blue Mountains.

We descended the bluff, followed down the Boisais three or four miles,
and crossed the river into an encampment of Snake fishermen.[200]
They were employed in laying in their winter store of salmon. Many
horses were feeding on the plain. We turned ours loose also for a bite
of the fresh {108} grass, while we bought fish, &c., and made other
arrangements to improve digestion and our speed in travelling. Our
business was transacted as follows:--For one large fish-hook we bought
one salmon; for one paper of vermillion, six bunches of spawn; for one
butcher-knife, one leathern fish rope. Carbo exchanged horses; disposed
of one worth five shillings for one worth three, and gave a blanket
and ten loads of ammunition to boot. He was vastly pleased with his
bargain, and endeavoured to show himself so, by trying to grin like
a white man; but he was not skilled in the science of manufacturing
laughter, and made a deplorable failure of it. One of my own horses,
whose feet were worn and tender, was exchanged with like profit to the
shrewd jockeys.

These Indians are more filthy than the Hottentots. Both sexes were
nearly naked. Their shelters were made with rush mats wrapped around
cones of poles.

Having finished our trading, we travelled about ten miles down the
stream, and encamped upon its bank. The plains were well covered with
grass; many portions seemed susceptible of cultivation. The bed of
{109} the river presented the usual characteristics of a mountain
torrent; broad, shallow, with extensive bars of coarse gravel crossing
the channel in all directions. The water limpid, and its quantity
might be expressed by saying that the average depth was six inches,
width ten yards, rate of current three miles an hour. In the month of
June, however, it is said to bring from its maternal mountains immense

13th. A breakfast of boiled spawn, and on trail at sunrise; travelled
rapidly down the grassy intervales of Boisais; passed many small groves
of timber. Many Indians employed in drying salmon, nearly naked, and
dirty and miserable, ran after us for tobacco, and to drive a bargain
for horses. All Indians have a mania for barter. They will trade for
good or evil to themselves, at every opportunity. Here they beset us
on every side. And if at any moment we began to felicitate ourselves
on having at last escaped from their annoying petitions for "shmoke"
and "hos," the next moment the air would resound with whips and hoofs,
and "shmoke, shmoke," "hos," from half a dozen new applicants, more
troublesome than their predecessors. No Jew, with old clothes and
a pinch-beck watch to sell, ever {110} pressed customers with more
assiduity than did these savages. But when we had travelled about
thirty miles from our night camp, they all suddenly disappeared;
and neither hut nor Shoshonie was seen more. They dare not pass the
boundary between themselves and the Bonaks.

Soon after being relieved from these pests, our guide, Carbo, intimated
that it would be according to the rules of etiquette in that country
for him to leave us, unacquainted though we were with the right trail
among the ten thousand that crossed the country in every direction, and
proceed to Fort Boisais, to make the important announcement that four
white faces were approaching the post. I remonstrated; but remonstrance
was mere air in comparison with the importance of doing his duty in
the most approved style; and away he shot, like an arrow from the bows
of his tribe, over hillock and through the streams and copses, till
lost from view. It was about four o'clock. The trails were so numerous,
that we found it useless to continue on any of them. For if we selected
any single one, that one branched into many every half mile. Thus we
deemed it best to 'take our course,' as the {111} mariner would say,
and disregard them altogether. In following this determination, we
crossed the Boisais again and again; floundered in quagmires, and
dodged along among whipping boughs and underbrush; and, when unimpeded
by such obstacles, pelted the dusty plain with as sturdy a trot as ever
echoed there, till the sun went down, and his twilight had left the
sky. No Fort yet! nor had we yet seen the Saptin. We halted, held a
council, and determined to "hold our course" westward; listened--heard
nothing but the muttering Boisais, and travelled on. In half an
hour, came to us a frightful, mournful yell, which brought us to an
instantaneous halt. We were within fifty yards of the Bonak Indians,
and were discovered!

This tribe is fierce, warlike, and athletic, inhabiting the banks of
that part of Saptin, or Snake River, which lies between the mouth of
Boisais, or Reed's River, and the Blue Mountains.[201] They make war
upon the Blackfeet and Crows; and for that purpose often cross the
mountains, through a gap between the track of Lewis and Clarke and the
'Great Gap.'[202] By these wars, their number has been much reduced.
They are said to speak a language peculiar to themselves; {112} and
are regarded by the whites as a treacherous and dangerous race. We had
approached so near their camp, that whatever might be their disposition
toward us, it was impossible to retreat. Darkness concealed the
surrounding country, and hid the river and the trails. We could not
escape without their permission and aid.

Our young Swiss trapper was the very man to grapple the dilemma. He
bribed their good will and their safe conduct to the Fort. Five or six
of them quickly seized horses, and, mounting without saddle or bridle,
led the way. While these things were being done, horrid wails came from
their huts among the bushes; and those who were with us responded to
them. The only word uttered was one, which sounded like 'yap.' This
they spoke at first in a low, plaintive key, and slowly; and then, on
a higher note and rapidly, as if under stronger emotions of grief; and
then fell away again to the low plaint of desponding sorrow. I noticed,
as we rode along, that the tails of many of their horses were shorn
of the hair in the most uncouth manner. The manes also were miserably
haggled. The men who rode them wept, and at intervals wailed.

I was afterwards informed that their tribe {113} was mourning the
death of some of their number who had lately died; and that it is a
custom with them and other western tribes, on the death of friends, in
war or by disease, for all the surviving relatives to shear the manes
and tails of their horses to the skin--kill all the animals of the
deceased--pile all his personal property around his burial-place, and
mourn, in the manner I have described, for several days. Their camp was
eight miles south of Fort Boisais.

We rode the distance in three quarters of an hour. Other Bonak horsemen
joined us along the way. Each one, as he overtook us, uttered the wail;
and then one and another took it up and bore it along the scattered
line of the cavalcade. It was not very dark--but it was night, and
all its air was filled with these expressions of savage grief. Tears
flowed, and sobs arrested oftentimes the wail half spoken. The sympathy
of the poor creatures for each other appeared very sincere, and
afforded strong inducement to doubt the correctness of the usually
received opinion that the American Indians possess little of the social
affections. They certainly manifested enough on this occasion to render
the hour I passed with them more oppressively painful than I hope ever
again to experience.

{114} Mr. Payette, the person in charge at Boisais, received us with
every mark of kindness; gave our horses to the care of his servants,
and introduced us immediately to the chairs, table and edibles of his
apartments. He is a French Canadian; has been in the service of the
Hudson's Bay Company more than twenty years, and holds the rank of
clerk; is a merry, fat old gentleman of fifty, who, although in the
wilderness all the best years of his life, has retained that manner
of benevolence in trifles, in his mode of address, of seating you and
serving you at table, of directing your attention continually to some
little matter of interest, of making you speak the French language
'_parfaitement_' whether you are able to do so or not, so strikingly
agreeable in that mercurial people. The 14th and 15th were spent very
pleasantly with this gentleman. During that time he feasted us with
excellent bread, and butter made from an American cow, obtained from
some of the missionaries; with baked, boiled, fried and broiled
salmon--and, at my request, with some of his adventures in the

Fort Boisais was established in 1832, as the post whence to oppose
Wyeth's operations at Fort Hall.[203] From it, the Hudson's Bay Company
sent their trading parties over {115} the country south, in advance and
rear and around every movement of Wyeth. And by using liberally the
fund laid by annually for that purpose, they undersold the American
till he was forced from the country.

On the part of the Hudson's Bay Company, I see nothing strange or
unmanly in this conduct, if looked at as a business transaction. People
having equal rights in trade, assume necessarily the relative positions
which their skill and capital can command. This is the position of
Americans and Britons in Oregon. By a pusillanimous policy on the part
of the American Government, we have given British subjects an equal
right with our own citizens to trade in all that part of the Public
Domain lying west of the Rocky Mountains. In the exercise of the rights
thus granted, the Hudson's Bay Company employ their incomparable
ingenuity and immense wealth in driving every American trader from the
coasts of the North Pacific. And who is to be blamed for this? The
Government of the United States, that has, through want of wisdom or
firmness or justice, permitted these important rights of its citizens
to be monopolized by foreign capitalists for the last thirty years.

This fort stands on the eastern bank of {116} the Saptin, eight miles
north of the mouth of Boisais or Reed's river. It consists of a
parallelogram about one hundred feet square, surrounded by a stockade
of poles about fifteen feet in height. It was entered on the west
side. Across the area north and south runs the principal building. It
is constructed of logs, and contains a large dining room, a sleeping
apartment and kitchen. On the north side of the area, in front of this,
is the store; on the south side the dwellings of the servants; back of
the main building, an outdoor oven; and in the north-east corner of the
stockade is the bastion. This was Fort Boisais in 1839. Mons. Payette
was erecting a neat adobie wall around it. He expected soon to be able
to tear away the old stockade, and before this has doubtless done

Among the curiosities of this establishment were the fore wheels,
axletree and thills of a one-horse waggon, said to have been run by
the American missionaries from the State of Connecticut through the
mountains thus far toward the mouth of the Columbia. It was left here
under the belief that it could not be taken through the Blue Mountains.
But fortunately for the next that shall attempt to cross the continent,
{117} a safe and easy passage has lately been discovered by which
vehicles of the kind may be drawn through to Wallawalla.[205]

At ten o'clock on the 16th we found ourselves sufficiently rested
to recommence our journey. Our packs and ourselves were sent across
the Saptin in a canoe; and our horses having swam it, and having been
packed and saddled firmly for a rapid march, and a '_bon jour_' having
been returned by Mons. Payette, with the additional kind wish of a
'_bon voyage_' to us, over the mountains, we left the old gentleman to
his solitary dominion.

He usually collects, during the twelvemonth, twelve or fifteen packs
of beaver, and employs himself in the salmon season in curing large
quantities of that fish for the supply of other posts. Our course was
down the west bank of the river. The soil was sand and clay mixed in
nearly equal proportions. Its composition is such as to render it
fruitful; but the absence of dews and rains forbids the expectation
that it will ever be so. Vegetation, bunch-grass and wild wormwood.
Travelled fifteen miles and encamped near a small bute, at the foot of
which ran a little tributary of the Saptin. From the south bank of this
{118} stream near our camp burst a great number of hot springs. Water
impregnated with sulphur: temperature at the boiling point.[206]

17th. Soil as on the track of the 16th, save that the hills became
higher and more gravelly. In the afternoon, crossed a brook putting
into the Saptin. At mid-day, touched the Saptin, and left it again for
the hills. Mid-afternoon, struck another small stream, and followed up
its valley till night.[207] Estimated our day's journey at thirty miles.

18th. The hills higher and more rocky; those in the distance to
the west and north-west partially covered with pines and cedars.
Immediately around our track, the hills were clothed with dry bunch
grass. Some of them had been burnt by the Indians. Many beautiful
little valleys were seen among the highlands. Black birch, rose,
and willow shrubs, and quaking-asp trees on the banks of the little
brooks. Encamped under the cliffs of a bute. The moon was in the first
quarter. Its cold beams harmonized well with the chilling winds of the
mountains. The atmosphere all the day smoky, as in Indian summertime in
the highlands of New England. Estimated distance travelled, twenty-five

{119} 19th. Forenoon, over gently rising conical hills, clothed with
bunch grass; soil in the valleys sand and clay. Cooked dinner at
L'Arbor Seul, a lonely pine in an extensive plain.[208] Encamped at
night on a stream coming from the Blue Mountains, in the north-west.
Distance to-day, thirty miles.

20th. Track up the valley in which we encamped the preceding night,
over gently undulating hills; high broken mountains on either side.
About twelve o'clock, came to a very steep descent, a mile in length.
The upper part of it was so precipitous that the animals with packs
were obliged to make a zigzag track of a mile, to descend the half that
distance; the lower part was less precipitous, but covered with loose
volcanic rocks. Among these the horses plunged and bruised themselves
badly; but fortunately none were seriously injured. Some rich soil
in the valleys; heavy groves of yellow pine, spruce, and hemlock;
quaking-asp on the streams, and in the ravines. From high swells, over
which ran the trail, we saw an extensive valley, deeply sunken among
the lofty mountains in the north-east. It appeared to be thickly coated
with grass, some portions dry, others green. The {120} meadow lark made
its appearance to-day. Towards night, we came again into the valley
which we had entered at mid-day, and encamped under a majestic yellow
pine.[209] Freezing breezes swept down from the woody mountain around
us, and made our fire, blazing high under the dark groaning boughs,
extremely agreeable. Travelled twenty-five miles.

21st. A day of severe travelling. In the forenoon, the trail ran over
a series of mountains swelling one above another in long and gentle
ascents, covered with noble forests of yellow pine, fir, and hemlock.
Among these were frequent glades of rich pasture land; grass green, and
numerous brooks of pure water leaping from the cliffs, or murmuring
among the shrubbery. The snow-ball, the wax plant, the yellow and
black currant--a species of whortleberry--the service berry--choke
cherry--the elder--the shrub maple--and all the beautiful flowers that
gem a mountain landscape during its short summer, clothed the ground.
At twelve o'clock, we entered a deep ravine, at the bottom of which
ran a brook of sweet clear water; we dined on its bank. A dish of
rich cocoa, mush, and sugar, and dried buffalo tongue, on the {121}
fresh grass, by a cool rivulet on the wild mountains of Oregon! Nature
stretched her bare and mighty arms around us! The mountains hid the
lower sky, and walled out the lower world! We looked upon the beautiful
heights of the Blue Mountains, and ate among its spring blossoms, its
singing pines, and holy battlements, ten thousand feet above the seas.

In the afternoon, we continued to ascend; vast rolls lifted themselves
over one another, in a northerly direction, higher and higher, till
in the distance their tops mingled with the blue of the sky. We
followed this grassy ridge till near four o'clock, when we commenced
descending. A mile over slowly declining hills, and then the descent
became frightful. It appeared to stand 45° to the plane of the horizon.
The horses, when they turned at the angles of the zigzag trail, often
found the greatest difficulty to keep on their feet. Two miles of such
descent, of bracing with might and main, deposited us in a ravine of
great depth, hung far and near with cliffs and abrupt earthy borders,
partially covered with pines. At the bottom a brook running in a
northerly direction, struggled and roared among the fallen rocks.
We {122} made our way with much difficulty down its banks a short
distance, crossed it, and proceeding in a north-westerly direction
to another stream flowing eastward, encamped among the pines. These
valleys were filled with cold winds, which rushed through them in
irregular gusts, chilling every thing they touched. We set fire to
large piles of dry pine logs in camp, spread our couches, and wayworn
as men ever were, ensconced ourselves in them for repose. Carbo did not
retire; but went whistling about among the horses; untied his wallet
of provisions, and ate a second time, punched the fire, and looked at
the eastern sky with evident interest. The vales below had been set on
fire by Indians; and I more than half supposed that he expected to see
some of his tribe at our quarters. But my supposition was groundless.

As soon as the moon peeped over the eastern heights, he roused me to
hear in broken French that our horses had nothing to eat in the place
where they were; and that we, being rested, must climb the mountain
to find food for them. No proposition, and the facts brought to urge
its adoption, could have been more unfortunately reasonable and
true--at that particular {123} time. My first impulse was to order him
to his couch; but a hungry whinny from my roan pony, browsing near
me, awakened me fully to the propriety of the measure proposed. I,
therefore, summoned my weary limbs and bruised and ulcered feet, to
their best efforts, and at twelve o'clock at night we were on march.

For some time we led our animals through the tangled wood, and then
along a steep gravelly side of the chasm, where the foothold slipped
at every step; awhile among rolling stones so thickly strewn upon
the ground, that the horses touched it only when their weight drove
their feet down between them; and then, awhile we seemed to hang on
the cliffs, and pause between advancing and following the laws of
gravitation to the bed of the torrent that battled its way in the
caverns far below; and in the desperation of a last effort, climbed the
bank to a place of safety. At length we arrived at a large indentation
in the face of the mountain, up the encircling rim of which, the
trail for half a mile was of comparatively easy ascent. At the end of
this distance, another difficulty was superadded to all we had yet

The steeps were covered to the depth of {124} several feet with "cut
rock"--dark shining cubes from one to three inches in diameter, with
sharp corners and edges. It was well nigh impossible to force our
horses on them. The most obedient one, however, was at length led
and scourged upon them; and by repeating the same inflictions, the
remainder were finally induced to follow. All walked except Smith. His
horse was "a d--d brute, and was made to carry him or die."

The poor animals would slip, and gather, and cripple; and when unable
longer to endure the cutting stone under their feet, would suddenly
drop on their knee; but the pain caused by that position would soon
force them to rise again, and struggle up the ascent. An half hour of
such travelling conducted us over this stony surface to the smooth
grassy swells, the surface of which was pleasant to the lacerated feet
of our horses. The green grass grew thickly all around. The moon poured
her bright beams through the frosty air on the slumbering heights; in
the deep pine-clad vales dimly burned the Indian fires; from mountain
to mountain sounded the deep bass of a thousand cascades.[210]

We encamped in a grove of pines which {125} crowned the mountain, at
three o'clock in the morning.

22nd. We saddled early, and ascending for two hours a line of gentle
grassy elevations, came to the beginning of the north-western
declivities of the Blue Mountains. The trail ran down the ravines of
small brooks flowing north-west, and occasionally over high swells
which stretched down the plain that lies about the south-western
branches of the Wallawalla River: we halted to dine.[211] In the
afternoon we struck off north-westerly over the rolling plain. The
soil in the depressions was a light and loose compound of sand and
clay, and thinly covered with bunch grass. The swells were of gravel,
and generally barren; trees on the brooks only, and these few, small
and of little value.

About three o'clock we came into the camp of a middle-aged Skyuse
Indian,[212] who was on his onward march from the buffalo hunt in the
mountain valleys east and north-east of Fort Hall. He was a spare man
of five feet eight inches, dressed in a green camlet frock-coat, a
black vest, striped cotton shirt, leather pants, moccasins, and a white
felt hat. There were two children, boys, neatly clad in deer-skin. His
{126} camp equipage was very comfortable--four or five camp-kettles
with tin covers, a number of pails with covers, a leathern tent, and
an assortment of fine buffalo robes. He had had a very successful
hunt. Of the seventeen horses in his caravan, six were loaded with the
best flesh of the buffalo cow, cured in the best manner; two others
bore his tent, utensils, clothing, robes, &c.; four others were ridden
by himself and family; the five remaining were used to relieve those
that, from time to time, might tire. These were splendid animals, as
large as the best horses of the States, well knit, deep and wide at
the shoulders; a broad loin, and very small lower limbs and feet; of
extreme activity and capacity for endurance.

Learning that this Indian was proceeding to Dr. Whitman's mission
establishment, where a considerable number of his tribe had pitched
their tents for the approaching winter, I determined to leave the
cavalcade and accompany him there. My guide Carbo, therefore, having
explained my intentions to my new acquaintance, departed with the
remainder of his charge for Fort Wallawalla.[213] Crickie, (in English
"poor crane,") was a very kind man.

{127} Immediately after the departure of Carbo and company, he turned
my worn-out animals loose, and loaded my packs upon his own, gave me a
splendid saddle-horse to ride, and intimated by significant gestures
that we would go a short distance that afternoon, in order to arrive
at the mission early the next day. I gave my assent, and we were soon
on the way. Our course was north-easterly over sharp swells, among
which ran many clear and beautiful brooks; soil gravel, loam, sand and
clay, and well covered with dry bunch grass, incapable of producing the
grains without irrigation. The swells and streams run north-westerly
from the Blue Mountains. Our course was diagonally across them.

Having made about ten miles at sunset, we encamped for the night. I
noticed, during the drive, a degree of forbearance towards each other,
in this family of savages which I had never before observed in that
race. When we halted for the night the two boys were behind. They had
been frolicking with their horses, and as the darkness came on, lost
the trail. It was a half-hour before they made their appearance, and
during this time, the worthy parents exhibited the most affectionate
solicitude {128} for them. One of them was but three years old, and was
lashed to the horse he rode; the other only seven years of age. Young
pilots in the wilderness at night! But the elder, true to the sagacity
of his race, had taken his course, and struck the brook on which we had
encamped, within three hundred yards of us. The pride of the parents
at this feat, and their ardent attachment to their children, were
perceptible in the pleasure with which they received them at their
evening fire, and heard the relation of their childish adventure.

The weather was so pleasant that no tent was pitched. The willows
were beat, and buffalo robes spread over them. Underneath were laid
other robes, on which my Indian host seated himself with his wife and
children on one side, and myself on the other. A fire burned brightly
in front. Water was brought, and the evening ablutions having been
performed, the wife presented a dish of meat to her husband, and one
to myself. There was a pause. The woman seated herself between her
children. The Indian then bowed his head and prayed to God! A wandering
savage in Oregon calling upon Jehovah in the name of Jesus {129}
Christ! After the prayer, he gave meat to his children, and passed the
dish to his wife.

While eating, the frequent repetition of the words Jehovah and Jesus
Christ, in the most reverential manner, led me to suppose they
were conversing on religious topics; and thus they passed an hour.
Meanwhile, the exceeding weariness of a long day's travel admonished me
to seek rest.

I had slumbered, I know not how long, when a strain of music awoke
me. I was about rising to ascertain whether the sweet notes of
Tallis's Chant came to these solitudes from earth or sky, when a full
recollection of my situation, and of the religious habits of my host,
easily solved the rising inquiry, and induced me to observe instead of
disturbing. The Indian family was engaged in its evening devotions.
They were singing a hymn in the Nez Percés language. Having finished
it, they all knelt and bowed their faces upon the buffalo robes, and
Crickie prayed long and fervently. Afterwards they sang another hymn
and retired. This was the first breathing of religious feelings that
I had seen since leaving the States. A pleasant evidence that the
Oregon wilderness was beginning to bear the rose of Sharon {130} on its
thousand hills, and that on the barren soil of the Skyuse heart was
beginning to bud and blossom and ripen the golden fruits of faith in
Jehovah, and hope in an after-state.

23rd. We were on our way before the sun rose. The dawn on an Oregon
sky, the rich blue embankment of mountains over which the great
day-star raised his glowing rim, the blandness of the air, the lively
ambling of the caravan towards the neighbouring abode of my countrymen,
imparted to my mind and body a most agreeable exhilaration. Crickie,
and his wife and children also, appeared to enjoy the atmosphere and
scenery of their native valley; and we went on together merrily over
the swelling plains and murmuring streams till about eight o'clock,
when Crickie spurred his horse in advance of the cavalcade, and
motioned me to follow him.

We rode very rapidly for about three hours over a country gently
undulating, well set with bunch grass, and intersected with small
streams flowing north-west. The dust had risen in dark clouds during
our ride, and rendered it necessary to bathe before presenting
ourselves at the mission. We therefore halted on the bank of a little
brook {131} overhung with willows, and proceeded to make our toilet.
Crickie's paraphernalia was ample for the purpose, and showed that
among his other excellencies, cleanliness held a prominent place. A
small mirror, pocket-comb, soap and a towel, were immediately produced;
and the dust was taken from his person and wardrobe with a nicety that
would have satisfied a town exquisite.

A ride of five miles afterward brought us in sight of the groves around
the mission. The plains far and near were dry and brown. Every form
of vegetation was dead save the forest trees, whose roots drank deeply
of the waters of the stream. We crossed the river, passed the Indian
encampment hard by, and were at the gate of the mission fields in
presence of Dr. Whitman. He was speaking Skyuse at the top of his voice
to some lazy Indians who were driving their cattle from his garden,
and giving orders to others to yoke their oxen, get the axes, and go
into the forest for the lower sleepers of the new mission house.[214]
Mr. Hall, printer at the Sandwich Islands, soon appeared in working
dress, with an axe on his shoulder; next came Mr. Monger, pulling the
pine shavings from his fore-plane.[215] All seemed desirous to {132}
ask me how long a balloon line had been running between the States and
the Pacific, by which single individuals crossed the continent. The
oxen, however, were yoked, and axes glistening in the sun, and there
was no time to spend, if they would return from their labour before
nightfall. So that the whence and wherefore of my sudden appearance
among them, were left for an after explanation. The doctor introduced
me to his excellent lady, and departed to his labour.[216]

The afternoon was spent in listless rest from the toils of my journey.
At sunset, however, I strolled out and took a bird's-eye view of the
plantation and plain of the Wallawalla. The old mission-house stands on
the north-east bank of the river, about four rods from the water-side,
at the north-east corner of an enclosure containing about two hundred
and fifty acres; two hundred of which are under good cultivation. The
soil is a thin stratum of clay, mixed with sand and a small proportion
of vegetable mould, resting on a base of coarse gravel. Through
this gravel, water from the Wallawalla filtrates, and by capillary
attraction is raised to the roots of vegetation in the incumbent earth.
The products are wheat, {133} Indian corn, onions, turnips, ruta-baga,
water, musk and nutmeg melons, squashes, asparagus, tomatoes,
cucumbers, peas, &c., in the garden--all of good quality, and abundant

The Wallawalla is a pretty stream. Its channel is paved with gravel and
sand, and about three rods in width; water two feet deep, running five
or six miles the hour, and limpid and cool through the year. A hundred
yards below the house, it makes a beautiful bend to the south-west for
a short distance, and then resumes its general direction of north-west
by north, along the border of the plantation. On the opposite bank is a
line of timber and underwood, interlaced with flowering brambles. Other
small groves occur above and below along the banks.

The plain about the waters of this river is about thirty miles square.
A great part of this surface is more or less covered with bunch grass.
The branches of the river are distributed over it in such manner that
most of it can be grazed. But, from what came under my own observation,
and the information received from respectable American citizens, who
had examined it more minutely than I had time to do, I suppose {134}
there to be scarcely two thousand acres of this vast extent of surface,
which can ever be made available for the purposes of cultivation.
The absence of rains and dews in the season of crops, and the
impossibility of irrigating much of it on account of the height of the
general surface above the streams, will afford sufficient reasons for
entertaining this opinion.

The doctor returned near night with his timber, one elm and a number
of quaking-asp sticks; and appeared gratified that he had been able to
find the requisite number of sufficient size to support his floor. Tea
came on, and passed away in earnest conversation about native land and
friends left there--of the pleasure they derived from their present
occupation--and the trials that befell them while commencing the
mission and afterwards.

Among the latter, was mentioned the drowning of their child in the
Wallawalla the year before, a little girl two years old. She fell into
the river at the place where they took water for family use. The mother
was in the house, the father a short distance away on the premises. The
alarm was conveyed to them almost instantly, and they and others rushed
to the stream, and sought {135} for their child with frantic eagerness.
But the strong heavy current had carried it down and lodged it in a
clump of bushes under the bank on which they stood. They passed the
spot where it lay, but found it too late. Thus these devoted people
were bereft, in the most afflicting manner, of their only child--left
alone in the wilderness.[217]

The morning of the 24th opened in the loveliest hues of the sky. Still
none of the beauty of the harvest field--none of the fragrance of the
ripened fruits of autumn were there. The wild horses were frolicking
on the plains; but the plains smoked with dust and dearth. The green
woods and the streams sent up their harmonies with the breeze; but it
was like a dirge over the remains of the departed glories of the year.
And yet when the smoking vegetables, the hissing steak, bread white as
snow, and the newly-churned golden butter graced the breakfast table,
and the happy countenances of countrymen and countrywomen shone around,
I could with difficulty believe myself in a country so far distant
from, and so unlike my native land, in all its features. But during
breakfast, this pleasant illusion was dispelled by one of the causes
which induced it.

{136} Our steak was of horse-flesh! On such meat this poor family
subsist most of the time. They do not complain. It enables them to
exist to do the Indian good, and thus satisfies them.[218] But can it
satisfy those who give money for the support of missionaries, that the
allowance made by their agents for the support of those who abandon
parents and freedom and home, and surrender not only themselves to the
mercy of the savages, but their offspring also, should be so meagre, as
to compel them to eat horse-flesh! This necessity existed in 1839, at
the mission on the Wallawalla, and I doubt not exists in 1843.

The breakfast being over, the doctor invited me to a stroll over
his premises. The garden was first examined; its location, on the
curving bank of the Wallawalla; the apple trees, growing thriftily
on its western border; the beautiful tomato and other vegetables,
burdening the grounds. Next to the fields. The doctor's views of the
soil, and its mode of receiving moisture from the river, were such as
I have previously expressed. "For," said he, "in those places where
you perceive the stratum of gravel to be raised so as to interrupt
the capillary attraction of the superincumbent earth, the {137} crop
failed." Then to the new house. The adobie walls had been erected a
year. These were about forty feet by twenty, and one and a half stories
high. The interior area consisted of two parlours of the ordinary size,
separated by an adobie portion. The outer door opened into one of them;
and from this a door in the partition led to the other. Above were to
be sleeping apartments. To the main building was attached another of
equal height designed for a kitchen, with chambers above for servants.
Mr. Monger and a Sandwich Islander were laying the floors, making the
doors, &c.

The lumber used was a very superior quality of yellow pine plank, which
Dr. Whitman had cut with a whip saw among the blue mountains, fifteen
miles distant. Next to the "caral." A fine yoke of oxen, two cows, an
American bull, and the beginning of a stock of hogs were thereabout.
And last to the grist-mill on the other side of the river. It consisted
of a spherical wrought iron burr four or five inches in diameter,
surrounded by a counter-burred surface of the same material. The
spherical burr was permanently attached to the shaft of a horizontal
water-wheel. The surrounding burred surface was firmly fastened to
{138} timbers, in such a position that when the water-wheel was put in
motion, the operation of the mill was similar to that of a coffee-mill.
It was a crazy thing, but for it the doctor was grateful.

It would, with the help of himself and an Indian, grind enough in a
day to feed his family a week, and that was better than to beat it
with a pestle and mortar. It appeared to me quite remarkable that the
doctor could have made so many improvements since the year 1834. But
the industry which crowded every hour of the day, his untiring energy
of character, and the very efficient aid of his wife in relieving
him in a great degree from the labours of the school, are, perhaps,
circumstances which will render possibility probable, that in five
years one man without funds for such purposes, without other aid in
that business than that of a fellow missionary at short intervals,
should fence, plough, build, plant an orchard, and do all the other
laborious acts of opening a plantation on the face of that distant
wilderness; learn an Indian language and do the duties, meanwhile, of a
physician to the associate stations on the Clear Water and Spokan.[219]

In the afternoon, Dr. Whitman and his {139} lady assembled the Indians
for instruction in reading. Forty or fifty children between the ages
of seven and eighteen, and several other people gathered on the shady
side of the new mission-house at the ringing of a hand-bell, and
seated themselves in an orderly manner on wooden benches. The doctor
then wrote monosyllables, words, and instructive sentences in the
Nez Percés language, on a large blackboard suspended on the wall,
and proceeded first to teach the nature and power of the letters
in representing the simple sounds of the language, and then the
construction of words and their uses in forming sentences expressive
of thought. The sentences written during these operations were at
last read, syllable by syllable, and word after word, and explained
until the sentiments contained in them were comprehended; and it was
delightful to notice the undisguised avidity with which these people
would devour a new idea. It seemed to produce a thrill of delight that
kindled up the countenance and animated the whole frame. A hymn in the
Nez Percés language, learned by rote from their teachers, was then
sung, and the exercises closed with prayer by Dr. Whitman in the same

{140} 25th. I was awakened at early dawn by the merry sounds of
clapping boards, the hammer, the axe and the plane; the sweet melodies
of the parent of virtue, at this cradle of civilization. When I rose
everything was in motion. Dr. Whitman's little herd was lowing in
the river; the wild horses were neighing at the morning breeze; the
birds were caroling in the groves. I said, every thing was alive. Nay,
not so. The Skyuse village was in the deepest slumber, save a few
solitary individuals who were stalking with slow and stately tread up
a neighbouring bute, to descry the retreat of their animals. Their
conical skin lodges dotted the valley above the mission, and imparted
to the morning landscape a peculiar wildness. As the sun rose, the
inmates began to emerge from them.

It was a chilly hour; and their buffalo robes were drawn over their
shoulders, with the hair next the body. The snow-white flesh side was
fringed with the dark fur that crept in sight around the edges, and
their own long black glistening tresses fell over it far down the back.
The children were out in all the buoyancy of young life, shouting to
the prancing steed, or betting gravel stones that the arrows upon their
little {141} bows would be the first to clip the sturdy thistle head
upon which they were waging mimic war. The women were busy at their
fires, weaving mats from the flag; or sewing moccasins, leggings, or
hunting shirts. Crickie was giving meat to his friends, who the past
winter had fed him, and taken care of him, while lying sick.

This is the imperial tribe of Oregon. They formerly claimed a
prescriptive right to exercise jurisdiction over the country down
the Columbia to its mouth; and up the North and South Forks to their
sources. In the reign of the late high Chief, the brother of him who
now holds that station, this claim was acceded to by all the tribes
within those districts. But that talented and brave man left at his
death but one son, who, after receiving a thorough education at the
Selkirk settlement on Red River of Lake Winnipeg, also died--and with
him the imperial dignity of the Skyuse tribe.[220]

The person in charge at Fort Wallawalla, indeed dressed the present
incumbent in better style than his fellows; proclaimed him high chief,
and by treating him with the formality usually tendered to his deceased
brother, has obtained for him the {142} name, but not the respect
and influence belonging to the office. He is a man of considerable
mental power, but has none of the fire and energy attributed to his
predecessor. The Wallawallas and Upper Chinooks are the only tribes
that continue to recognise the Skyuse supremacy.

The Skyuse are also a tribe of merchants. Before the establishment of
Forts Hall and Boisais, they were in the habit of rendezvousing at
"La Grande Rounde," an extensive valley in the Blue Mountains, with
the Shoshonies and other Indians from the Saptin, and exchanging with
them their horses for furs, buffalo robes, skin tents, &c. But since
the building of these posts, that portion of their trade is nearly
destroyed. In the winter season, a band of them usually descends to
the Dalles, barters with the Chinooks for salmon, and holds councils
over that mean and miserable band to ascertain their misdemeanors,
and punish them therefore by whipping. The Wallawallas, however, are
their most numerous and profitable customers. They may well be termed
the fishermen of the Skyuse camp. They live on both banks of the
Columbia, from the Blue Mountains to the Dalles, and employ themselves
principally {143} in taking salmon. For these, their betters, who
consider fishing a menial business, give them horses. They own large
numbers of these animals. A Skyuse is thought to be poor who has but
fifteen or twenty of them. They generally have many more. One fat,
hearty old fellow, owns something more than two thousand; all wild,
except many as he needs for use or sale.

To these reports of the Indians, Dr. Whitman gave little credence;
so at variance were some of the facts related, with what he presumed
the Hudson's Bay Company would permit to be done by any one in their
employment, or under their patronage--the abuse of American citizens,
and the ungentlemanly interference with their characters and calling.

On the morning of the 27th, the arrival of Mr. Ermetinger, the senior
clerk at Fort Hall from Fort Wallawalla, created quite a sensation.
His uniform kindness to the Missionaries has endeared him to them.[221]
My companion, Blair, accompanied him. The poor old man had become
lonely and discouraged, and as I had encouraged him to expect any
assistance from me which his circumstances might demand, it afforded
me the greatest pleasure to make his merits {144} known to the
Missionaries, who needed an artisan to construct a mill at the station
on the Clear Water. Dr. Whitman contracted with him for his services
and Blair was happy. I sincerely hope he may for ever be so.

I attended the Indian school to-day. Mrs. Whitman is an indefatigable
instructress. The children read in monosyllables from a primer lately
published at the Clear Water station. After reading, they repeated a
number of hymns in the Nez Percés, composed by Mr. Smith, of the Spokan
station.[222] These were afterwards sung. They learn music readily. At
nightfall, I visited the Indian lodges in company with Dr. Whitman.
In one of them we saw a young woman who imagined that the spirit of
a Medicine man, or conjuror, had entered into her system, and was
wasting her life. She was resorting to the native remedy for such
evils--singing wild incantations, and weeping loudly. This tribe, like
all others west of the mountains, believe in witchcraft under various
forms--practice sleight-of-hand, fire-eating, &c. They insert rough
sticks into their throats, and draw them up and down till the blood
flows freely, to make them long-winded on march. They {145} flatten
the head, and perforate the septum, or partition of the nose. In this
orifice they wear various ornaments. The more common one that I noticed
was a wolf's tooth.

The Skyuse have two distinct languages: the one used in ordinary
intercourse, the other on extraordinary occasions; as in war-councils,
&c. Both are said to be copious and expressive. They also speak the Nez
Percés and Wallawalla.

On the 28th, Mr. Ermetinger started for Fort Hall, and Blair for the
Clear Water. Early in the day, the Indians brought in large numbers of
their horses to try their speed. These are a fine race of animals; as
large, and of better form, and more activity than most of the horses
in the States. Every variety of colour is found among them, from the
shining coal-black to the milk-white. Some of them are pied very
singularly; for instance, a roan body with bay ears, and white mane and
tail. Some are spotted with white on a roan, or bay, or sorrel ground,
with tail and ears tipped with black. They are better trained to the
saddle than those of civilized countries.

When an Indian wishes an increase of his serving animals, he mounts a
fleet horse, {146} and, lasso in hand, rushes into his band of wild
animals, throws it upon the neck of the chosen one, and chokes him
down; and while in a state of insensibility, ties the hind and fore
feet firmly together. When consciousness returns, the animal struggles
violently, but in vain, to get loose. His fear is then attacked by
throwing bear-skins, wolf-skins, and blankets at his head till he
becomes quiet. He is then loosened from the cord, and rears and plunges
furiously at the end of a long rope, and receives another introduction
to bear-skins, &c. After this, he is approached and handled; or, if
still too timid, he is again beset with blankets and bear-skins, as
before, until he is docile. Then come the saddling and riding. During
this training, they uniformly treat him tenderly when near, and rudely
when he pulls at the end of the halter. Thus they make their wild steed
the most fearless and pleasant riding animals I ever mounted.

The course pursued by Mr. Whitman, and other Presbyterian Missionaries,
to improve the Indians, is to teach them the Nez Percés language,
according to fixed grammatical rules, for the purpose of opening to
them the arts and religion of civilized {147} nations through the
medium of books. They also teach them practical agriculture and the
useful arts, for the purpose of civilizing their physical condition.
By these means, they hope to make them a better and a happier people.
Perhaps it would be an easier way to the same result, if they would
teach them the English language, and thus open to them at once the
treasures which centuries of toil, by a superior race, have dug from
the mines of intelligence and truth.

This was the evening before the sabbath, and Dr. Whitman, as his
custom was, invited one of the most intelligent Indians to his study,
translated to him the text of scripture from which he intended to teach
the tribe on the morrow, explained to him its doctrines, and required
of him to explain in turn. This was repeated again and again, until the
Indian obtained a clear understanding of its doctrines.

The 29th was the sabbath, and I had an opportunity of noticing its
observance by the Skyuse. I rose before the sun. The stars were waxing
dim on the morning sky, the most charming dawn I ever witnessed. Every
possible circumstance of sublimity conspired to make it so. There was
the {148} pure atmosphere; not a wisp of cloud on all its transparent
depths. The light poured over the Blue Mountains like a cataract of
gold; first on the upper sky, then deepening its course through the
lower air, it gilded the plain with a flood of brightness, mellow,
beautiful brightness; the charms of morning light, on the brown,
boundless solitudes of Oregon. The breeze scarcely rustled the leaves
of the dying flowers; the drumming of the woodpecker on the distant
tree, sounded a painful discord; so grand, so awful, and yet so sweet,
were the unuttered symphonies of the sublime quiet of the wilderness.

At ten o'clock the Skyuse assembled for worship in the open air. The
exercises were according to the Presbyterian form; the invocation,
the hymn, the prayer, the hymn, the sermon, a prayer, a hymn, and the
blessing; all in the Nez Percés tongue. The principal peculiarity about
the services was the mode of delivering the discourse. When Dr. Whitman
arose and announced the text, the Indian who had been instructed on the
previous night, rose and repeated it; and as the address proceeded,
repeated it also by sentence or paragraph, till it was finished. This
is the custom of {149} the Skyuse in all their public speaking. The
benefit resulting from it in this case, apparently, was the giving the
doctrines which the Doctor desired to inculcate, a clearer expression
in the proper idiom of the language.

During the recess, the children were assembled in sabbath school. In
the afternoon, the service was similar to that of the morning. Every
thing was conducted with much solemnity. After worship, the Indians
gathered in their lodges, and conversed together concerning what
they had heard. If doubt arose as to any point, it was solved by the
instructed Indian. Thus passed the sabbath among the Skyuse.

On the 29th, I hired Crickie to take me to the Dalles; and, Mrs.
Whitman having filled my sacks with bread, corn-meal, and other
edibles, I lashed my packs once more for the lower Columbia.


[183] The river was named by Captain William Clark in honor of his
fellow explorer, Captain Meriwether Lewis, the latter being the first
white man to visit its banks. Later, the term Snake was more frequently
applied, because that tribe of Indians ranged within the basin of this
river. The word Saptin (Shahaptin) is derived from a stock of Indians,
of whom the Nez Percés are the most prominent branch.--ED.

[184] By Long's range, Farnham intends what is now known as Front
range, with Long's Peak, James's (now Pike's) Peak, and Pike's (now the
Spanish Peaks) as its outposts. For his use of these terms see _ante_,
pp. 111, 184, 283, notes 50, 111, 166. The Great Gap is South Pass, for
which see our volume xxi, p. 58, note 37.--ED.

[185] These spurs are the boundaries of South and Middle Parks, for
which see _ante_, pp. 199, 221, notes 123, 132.--ED.

[186] The range described by Farnham as the Snowy Mountains, refers
to the Sierra Nevada; but is an incorrect description. The mountains
he saw north-east and north-west of Fort Hall, covered with perpetual
snow, were part of the main Rocky Mountains trending westward from
Yellowstone Park. The President's range is that now known as Cascade
Mountains, in which Mounts Jefferson and Adams perpetuate the memory of
those early executives.--ED.

[187] For a brief description of this range see Townsend's _Narrative_
in our volume xxi, p. 184, note 35.--ED.

[188] For these three streams, which rise farther west than here
indicated, see De Smet's _Letters_ in our volume xxvii, p. 224, note

[189] For Grand River see _ante_, p. 223, note 135.--ED.

[190] The South Platte rises in South Park (Bayou Salade), flows east
and then north-east, and breaking through Front Range at Platte Cañon,
above Denver, continues in a nearly northward course to old Fort St.
Vrain; it then turns abruptly east across the great plains, and unites
with the North Platte in western Nebraska.--ED.

[191] For Wyeth and the founding of Fort Hall see our volume xxi,
especially pp. 210, 211. The fort was built in 1833 (not 1832). The
nearest Hudson's Bay post was Fort Walla Walla, for which see volume
xxi, p. 278, note 73.--ED.

[192] For the Wallawalla Indians see Ross's _Oregon Settlers_, in our
volume vii, p. 137, note 37.--ED.

[193] For the Three Buttes see our volume xxi, p. 209, note 49.--ED.

[194] By western, Farnham intends the southern bank of the Lewis,
where passed the usual trail from Fort Hall. Rough as it was, the
southern bank was less cut with gulleys and rapid torrent beds than the

[195] The term Digger Indians has no ethnological significance, but
was applied to degraded bands of the Shoshonean stock who ranged
chiefly west and south of Great Salt Lake; without horses or much
clothing, they lived in a furtive way upon roots and insects. The name
is sometimes equivalent to Paiute, who have proved to be of a more
vigorous character than was formerly supposed. The French appellation
was Digne de pitié (worthy of pity); see De Smet's _Letters_ in our
volume xxvii, p. 167, note 38.--ED.

[196] Farnham must have been in the neighborhood of the great Shoshone
Falls of Lewis River. His description would better apply to Twin
Falls, two and a half miles higher up which are about two hundred
feet in height; but they are caused by the flow of the river, not by

[197] This ford is about thirty-five miles below the falls, not far
from Glenn's Ferry. It consists of two islands, with the water between
sufficiently shallow to be fordable.--ED.

[198] The entire region is volcanic, and hot springs are frequent.
Hot Spring Creek is an affluent of the Lewis, some distance below the
Malade. See Frémont's analysis of these springs in _Senate Docs._, 28
Cong., 2 sess., 174, p. 171.--ED.

[199] This must be a misprint for twenty miles "east of the Saptin" or
Lewis. The guide evidently bore off from the main river in order to
strike the Boise, which afforded wood for fuel and pasture for horses
as well as furnished a short cut to the fort at its mouth.--ED.

[200] For the Boise River, see Townsend's _Narrative_ in our volume
xxi, p. 249, note 63. The Snake Indians are noted in volume v, p. 227,
note 123.--ED.

[201] For the Bannock Indians see our volume xxi, p. 192, note 41.
The Boise was frequently called Reed's River, because of the murder
thereupon (1814) of a trapping party under the leadership of a
bourgeois of that name. See Ross's _Oregon Settlers_ in our volume vii,
pp. 265-270.--ED.

[202] Lewis and Clark passed the main ridge of the Rockies at the
source of the west fork of Jefferson's River, coming out upon the
Lemhi. By the "Great Gap," Farnham undoubtedly intends South Pass.
The Bannock crossed at the headsprings of Henry's Fork of the Snake
(see De Smet's _Letters_, our volume xxvii, p. 252), coming down into
Madison Valley, whence they made their way by Bozeman's Pass to the
Yellowstone, or country of the Crows; or possibly to the country of the
Blackfeet, on Maria's River, by continuing down the Missouri.--ED.

[203] Fort Boise was built in the spring of 1834 (not 1832) by Thomas
McKay, stepson of Dr McLoughlin, the Hudson's Bay factor at Fort
Vancouver. It was at first but a miserable pen of crooked saplings, a
few miles up Boise River; but later was, as Farnham mentions, removed
below the mouth of the river, and constructed of adobe. It was an
important station on the Oregon Trail--the resting place after the
difficult travel of the Snake River plains, and before attempting the
rough route to the Columbia. With the decline of the fur-trade, the
importance of Fort Boise was much diminished, and when it was destroyed
(1853) by a remarkable rise of Snake River, it was but partially
repaired. A neighboring Indian massacre (1854) caused the post to be
entirely abandoned the succeeding year. In 1863 the government built a
military post known as Fort Boise, or Boise Barracks, fifty miles above
the old Hudson's Bay post, at the site of the modern city of Boise.--ED.

[204] Payette commanded this post for a number of years. Whitman found
him there in 1836, and he was still in charge as late as 1843.--ED.

[205] The history of this wagon is interesting. It was brought out
by Dr. Whitman in 1836, and the following passages in Mrs. Whitman's
letters (Oregon Pioneer Association _Transactions_, 1891, pp. 40-68)
relate thereto: "July 25. Husband had a tedious time with the wagon
to-day. It got stuck in the creek this morning when crossing and he
was obliged to wade considerably in getting it out. After that, in
going between the mountains, on the side of one, so steep that it was
difficult for horses to pass, the wagon was upset twice.... 28th. One
of the axle-trees of the wagon broke to-day; was a little rejoiced, for
we were in hopes they would leave it, and have no more trouble with
it. Our rejoicing was in vain for they are making a cart of the back
wheels, this afternoon, and lashing the fore wheels to it--intending
to take it through in some shape or other". On Snake River the box
was abandoned, and finally what remained of the vehicle was left at
Fort Boise. When Joseph L. Meek came through in 1840, he secured the
remains of this historic wagon and transported his family therein to
Dr. Whitman's station at Waiilatpu.--ED.

[206] These springs are just below the entrance of Malheur River, for
which see our volume xxi, p. 264, note 64. Frémont tested them, and
found the temperature 193° Fahrenheit; he mentions the incrustation of

[207] Probably Burnt (or Brulé) River, for which see our volume xxi, p.
267, note 67.--ED.

[208] L'Arbre Seul was a well-known landmark in Powder River valley,
just at the ford of the river. When Frémont passed in 1843 he found
that some inconsiderate emigrant had felled the big tree with his axe.
The place was thereafter known as Lone Pine Stump. For Powder River see
our volume xxi, p. 268, note 68.--ED.

[209] Grande Ronde valley, for which see our volume xxi, p. 271, note

[210] The passage of the Blue Mountains was one of the difficult
portions of the Oregon Trail. Compare our volume xxi, pp. 272-276; also
Mrs. Whitman's "Journal," in Oregon Pioneer Association _Transactions_,
1891, pp. 55-57.--ED.

[211] For the Walla Walla River see our volume vi, p. 338, note

[212] For the Cayuse (Skyuse) Indians see Ross's _Oregon Settlers_ in
our volume vii, p. 137, note 37.--ED.

[213] For a brief description of Fort Walla Walla see our volume xxi,
p. 278, note 73.--ED.

[214] The Whitman mission station was on the north bank of the Walla
Walla, six miles west of the present city of that name. The place was
called by its Indian name Waiilatpu. See Mrs. Whitman's description of
the site in Oregon Pioneer Association _Transactions_, 1891, pp. 88-90;
she gives a plan of the new house on pp. 136, 137. For a brief sketch
of Dr. Marcus Whitman, see our volume xxi p. 352, note 125.--ED.

[215] The mission of the American Board at the Sandwich Islands
decided (1839) to present to the Oregon mission their printing press
and its appurtenances, they having recently received a new outfit
from the United States. This press, which had then seen twenty years'
service in Hawaii, was placed on board of the annual vessel to the
Columbia, and in process of time reached Dr. Whitman's station;
thence it was transferred to Lapwai, where it continued in use,
printing native texts, etc., during the existence of the mission. The
press was advertised for sale in 1860, but there being no customer,
Mrs. Spaulding presented it to the state as an historical relic. It
has found a home in the state house at Salem. See Oregon Pioneer
Association _Transactions_, 1889, p. 94. With the press came Edwin
O. Hall, an American printer, who had been employed some time in
the Sandwich Islands, and desired to leave because of the impaired
condition of his wife's health. He remained at the Oregon mission until
the next year, when he returned to the Islands, subsequently returning
to the Eastern states where he died about 1887. (See Mrs. Whitman's
"Journal," in Oregon Pioneer Association _Transactions_, 1891, p. 137.)

For Asahel Munger see _ante_, p. 275, note 161.--ED.

[216] For Narcissa Prentice Whitman see our volume xxi, p. 355, note

[217] See Mrs. Whitman's own account of the loss of this daughter,
Alice Clarissa, in Oregon Pioneer Association _Transactions_, 1891, pp.

[218] Mrs. Whitman writes in 1838: "The Indians have furnished us a
little venison--barely enough for our own eating--but to supply our
men and visitors we have killed and eaten ten wild horses bought of
the Indians. This will make you pity us, but you had better save your
pity for more worthy subjects. I do not prefer it to other meat, but
can eat it very well when we have nothing else." (See "Journal," as in
preceding note, p. 96.)--ED.

[219] For the location of the Spokan mission see De Smet's _Letters_ in
our volume xxvii, p. 367, note 187.

The Clearwater station was called Lapwai, being situated at the mouth
of a creek of that name in Nez Percé County, western Idaho. It was
founded in 1836 by Henry H. Spaulding, for whom see our volume xxi, p.
352, note 125. Abandoned after the Whitman massacre (1847), a military
post succeeded, being maintained until 1886. A portion of Spaulding's
house was recently standing.--ED.

[220] In Ross's time, Quahat was the great Cayuse war-chief. He
also speaks of the importance of the Cayuse, and their ruling
propensities--see Chittenden, _Fur-Trade_, i, p. 181.

For the Red River settlement, see Franchère's _Narrative_ in our volume
vi, pp. 379, 381, notes 195, 199.--ED.

[221] For Francis Ermatinger see De Smet's _Letters_, in our volume
xxvii, p. 235, note 108.--ED.

[222] Asa B. Smith came out in 1838 with Elkanah Walker and Cushing
Eells to re-inforce the mission to the Nez Percés. Smith had
considerable linguistic ability, and with the aid of the noted Indian
chief Lawyer compiled a grammar and vocabulary of the Nez Percé
language. Becoming discouraged, however, he left the mission at Kamai
in 1841, and resigning the following year retired to the Sandwich


  Parting with Friends--Wallawalla Valley--Fort Wallawalla--Mr.
    Pambrun--The Columbia--Country down its banks--What was
    seen of Rock Earth--Wood, Fire and Water--Danger, &c. from
    the Heights--Falling Mountain--Morning Hymn to God--Giant's
    Causeway--A View of the Frozen Sublime--Tum Tum Orter' and
    other appurtenances--Dalles--Methodist Episcopal Mission--Mr.
    and Mrs. Perkins--Mr. Lee--Mission Premises--Egyptian
    Pyramids--Indians--How Fifty Indians can fight One Boston--The
    Result of a War--Descent of the Columbia in a Canoe--A
    Night on the River--The Poetry of the Wilderness--The
    Cascades--Postage--Dr. McLaughlin--Indian Tombs--Death--A
    Race--The River and its Banks--Night again--Mounts Washington
    and Jefferson--Arrival--Fort Vancouver--British Hospitality.

30th. Left the kind people of the mission at ten o'clock for Fort
Wallawalla. Travelled fifteen miles; face of the country dry, barren,
swelling plains; not an acre capable of cultivation; some bunch grass,
and a generous supply of wild wormwood. Encamped on the northern branch
of the Wallawalla River.

{151} October 1. At ten o'clock to-day, I was kindly received by Mr.
Pambrun at Fort Wallawalla.[223] This gentleman is a half-pay officer
in the British army. His rank in the Hudson Bay Company, is that of
"clerk in charge" of this post. He is of French extraction, a native of
Canada. I breakfasted with him and his family. His wife, a half breed
of the country, has a numerous and beautiful family. The breakfast
being over, Mr. Pambrun invited me to view the premises. The fort is
a plank stockade, with a number of buildings within, appropriated to
the several uses of a store, blacksmith-shop, dwellings, &c. It has
a bastion in the north-east corner, mounted with cannon. The country
around has sometimes been represented as fruitful and beautiful. I
am obliged to deny so foul an imputation upon the fair fame of dame
Nature. It is an ugly desert; designed to be such, made such, and is

About seven miles up the Wallawalla River, are two or three acres
of ground fenced with brush, capable of bearing an inferior species
of Yankee pumpkin; and another spot somewhere, of the fourth of an
acre, capable of producing anything that grows in the richest kind of
unmoistened {152} sand. But aside from these distinguished exceptions,
the vicinity of Fort Wallawalla is a desert. There is, indeed, some
beauty and sublimity in sight, but no fertility. The wild Columbia
sweeps along under its northern wall. In the east, roll up to heaven
dark lofty ridges of mountains; in the north-west, are the ruins of
extinct and terrible volcanic action; in the west, a half mile, is the
entrance of the river into the vast chasm of its lower course, abutted
on either side by splendidly castellated rocks, a magnificent gateway
for its floods.

But this is all. Desert describes it as well as it does the wastes
of Arabia. I tarried only two hours with the hospitable Mr. Pambrun.
But as if determined that I should remember that I would have been a
welcome guest a much longer time, he put some tea and sugar and bread
into my packs, and kindly expressed regrets that our mutual admiration
of Napoleon should be thus crowded into the chit-chat of hours instead
of weeks. A fine companionable fellow; I hope he will command Fort
Wallawalla as long as Britons occupy it, and live a hundred years

Travelled down the south bank of the Columbia along the water-side;
the river half {153} a mile in width, with a deep strong current;
water very clear. A short distance from this brink, on both sides,
rose the embankments of the chasm it has worn for itself, in the lapse
of ages--a noble gorge, worthy of its mighty waters. The northern one
might properly be termed a mountain running continuously along the
water's edge, seven hundred or eight hundred feet in height, black,
shining, and shrubless. The southern one consisted of earthy bluffs,
alternating with cliffs from one hundred to four hundred feet above the
stream, turreted with basaltic shafts, some twenty, others one hundred
feet above the subjacent hills.

Passed a few horses travelling industriously from one wisp of dry bunch
grass to another. Every thing unnatural, dry, brown, and desolate.
Climbed the heights near sunset, and had an extensive view of the
country south of the river. It was a treeless, brown expanse of dearth,
vast rolling swells of sand and clay, too dry to bear wormwood. No
mountains seen in that direction. On the north they rose precipitously
from the river, and hid from view the country beyond. The Wallawalla
Indians brought us drift-wood and fresh salmon, for which they desired
"shmoke," tobacco.

{154} 2nd. Continued to descend the river. Early in the day, basalt
disappeared from the bluffs; and the country north and south opened to
view five or six miles from the stream. It was partially covered with
dry bunch grass; groups of Indian horses occasionally appeared. But I
was impressed with the belief that the journeyings from one quid of
grass to another, and from these to water, were sufficient to enfeeble
the constitution of the best horse in Christendom. The wild wormwood,
of "blessed memory," greeted my eyes and nose, wherever its scrags
could find sand to nourish them.

During the day I was gratified with the sight of five or six trees, and
these a large species of willow, themselves small and bowed with age;
stones and rocks more or less fused. A strong westerly wind buffeted
me; and much of the time filled the air with drifting sand. We encamped
at the water side about three o'clock. I had thus a fine opportunity
of ascending the heights to view the southern plain. The slopes were
well covered with grass, and seemed easy of ascent; but on trial proved
extremely laborious. I however climbed slowly and patiently the long
sweeps for two hours, and gained nothing. Nay, I could see the noble
{155} river, like a long line of liquid fire blazing with the light of
the western sun; and the rush wigwams of the Wallawallas, dotting the
sands of the opposite shore; and the barren bluffs and rocks beyond
them piled away into space. But to the south my vision was hemmed in by
the constantly rising swells. No extensive view could be obtained from
any of the heights.

The sun was fast sinking, and the hills rose as I advanced. I was so
weary that I could go little further. But taking a careful view of the
peaks which would guide me back to my camp, I determined to travel
on till it should become too dark to see what might open before me.
I climbed slowly and tediously the seemingly endless swells, lifting
themselves over and beyond each other in beautiful, but to my wearied
limbs, and longing eyes in most vexatious continuity, till the sun
dipped his lower rim beneath the horizon.

A volcano burst the hills, thought I; and on I trudged with the little
strength that a large quantity of vexation gave me. Fires blister your
beautiful brows, I half uttered, as I dragged myself up the crowning
eminence, and saw the plateau declining in irregular undulations far
into the south-west--{156} a sterile waste, clothed in the glories of
the last rays of a splendid sunset. The crests of the distant swells
were fringed with bunch grass; not a shrub or a tree on all the field
of vision; and evidently no water nearer than the Columbia. Those
cattle which are, in the opinions of certain travellers, to depasture
these plains in future time, must be of sound wind and limb to gather
food and water the same day. I found myself so wearied on attaining
this goal of my wishes, that, notwithstanding the lateness of the
hour, I was literally compelled to seek some rest before attempting to

I therefore seated myself, and in the luxury of repose permitted
darkness to commence creeping over the landscape, before I could
rouse myself to the effort of moving. When I did start, my style
of locomotion was extremely varied, and withal sometimes not the
most pleasant to every portion of the mortal coil. My feet were not
unfrequently twice or thrice the length of that measure in advance
of my body. But the reader must not suppose that this circumstance
diminished my speed. I continued to slide down the hills, using as
vehicles the small sharp stones beneath me, until an opportunity
offered to put my {157} nether extremities under me again. Once I had
nearly plunged headlong from a precipice some fifty feet high, and
saved myself by catching a wormwood bush standing within three feet of
the brink. Finally, without any serious mishap, I arrived in camp, so
completely exhausted, that, without tasting food, I threw myself on my
couch for the night.

3rd. The earthy bluffs continued to bind the chasm of the river till
mid-day, when buttresses of basalt took their place. A little bunch
grass grew among the wild wormwood. Turkeys, grouse, and a species
of large hare frequently appeared; many ducks in the stream. For
three hours before sunset the trail was rugged and precipitous, often
overhanging the river, and so narrow that a mis-step of four inches
would have plunged horse and rider hundreds of feet into the boiling
flood. But as Skyuse horses never make such disagreeable mistakes,
we rode the steeps in safety. Encamped in a small grove of willows.
The river along the day's march was hemmed in by lofty and rugged
mountains. The rocks showed indubitable evidences of a volcanic origin.
As the sun went down, the Wallawalla village on the opposite shore
{158} sang a hymn in their own language, to a tune which I have often
heard sung in Catholic Churches, before the image of the Virgin. The
country in the south, as seen from the heights, was broken and barren;
view limited in all directions by the unevenness of the surface.

4th. Awakened this morning by the fall of a hundred tons of rock
from the face of the mountain near us. The earth trembled as if the
slumbering volcanoes were wrestling in its bowels. We were brought to
our feet, and opened and rubbed our eyes with every mark of despatch.
My "poor crane" and his hopeful son condescended to appear shocked; an
event in an Indian's life that occurs as seldom as his birth. I had
stationed myself near the fallen rocks as the sun's first rays awoke
the morning hymn of the Indian village.

It was a sweet wild tune that they sung to God among the dark mountains
of the Columbia. And sweeter, perhaps, in such a place, where every
motion of the heart is a monition that one is alone, and every thought
brings with it the remembrance that the social affections are separated
from the objects of their fondness, and where every moral sensibility
is chilled by a sense of {159} desolation and danger, calling into
exercise the resisting and exterminating propensities, and where the
holy memories of home find no response but in some loved star in the
unchanging heavens. In such a place how far sweeter than anything
beside is the evidence of the religious principle--the first teaching
of a mother's love, rising over the wastes of nature from the altar of
a pure heart--the incense of love going up to the heavenly presence.

At eight o'clock we were en route; at nine o'clock approached the
bend in the river, where it changes from a south-west to a north-west
course.[224] At this place the cliffs which overhang the southern bank
presented a fine collection of basaltic columns. Along the margin of
the river lay hillocks of scoriæ, piled together in every imaginable
form of confusion. Among them grew considerable quantities of bunch
grass, on which a band of Wallawalla horses were feeding. Sand-hills on
the opposite shore rose one thousand feet in the air. Basalt occurred
at intervals, in a more or less perfect state of formation, till the
hour of noon, when the trail led to the base of a series of columns
extending three-fourths of a mile down the bank. These were more
perfectly formed than any previously seen.

{160} They swelled from a large curve of the mountain side, like the
bastions of ancient castles; and one series of lofty columns towered
above another, till the last was surmounted by a crowning tower, a
little above the level of the plain beyond. And their pentagonal form,
longitudinal sections, dark shining fracture, and immense masses strewn
along my way, betokened me if not in the very presence of the Giant's
Causeway, yet on a spot where the same mighty energies had exerted
themselves which built that rare, beautiful wonder of the Emerald
Isle. The river was very tortuous, and shut in by high dykes of basalt
and sand hills the remainder of the day; saw three small rapids in the
Columbia; encamped at sunset; too weary to climb the heights.

5th. Arose at break of day, and ordering my guide to make arrangements
for starting as soon as I should return, I ascended the neighbouring
heights. Grassy undulating plains in all directions south of the river.
Far in the north-east towered the frozen peak of Mount Washington,
a perfect pyramid, clothed with eternal snows.[225] The view in the
north was hemmed in by mountains which rose higher than the place of
observation. On descending, my guide Crickie complained of ill-health;
and assigned that {161} circumstance as a reason why he should not
proceed with me to the Dalles. I was much vexed with him at the time,
for his unseasonable desertion, and believed that the real inducement
to his course was the danger to be apprehended from the Indians at
the Shutes. But I was sorry to learn from Dr. Whitman afterwards that
the poor fellow was actually sick, and that he suffered much at the
sand bank encampment, where I left him. After paying Crickie for his
faithful services thus far along, and giving him four days' provision
for himself and boy, a Wallawalla Indian who had encamped with us the
previous night, took charge of Crickie's horses, bearing myself and
packs, and led the way down the river.

The "poor crane" was an honest, honourable man; and I can never think
of all his kind acts to me, from the time I met him in the plains
beyond the Wallawalla mission, till I left him sick on the bank of the
Columbia, without wishing an opportunity to testify my sense of his
moral worth and goodness of heart in some way which shall yield him
a substantial reward for all he suffered in my service. Two hours'
ride brought to my ears the music of the "tum tum orter;" {162} the
Indian-English for the "thundering waters" of the Shutes.[226] These
are the only perpendicular falls of the Columbia, in its course from
the junction of its great northern and southern branches, to the ocean.
And they do indeed thunder. A stratum of black rock forming the bed of
the river above, by preserving its horizontal position, rises at this
place above the natural surface of the stream, and forms an abrupt
precipice, hanging sixty feet in height over the bed below.

The river, when I passed was unfortunately at its lower stage--still
the Shutes were terribly grand. The main body of the water swept around
near its southern bank, and being there compressed into, a narrow rough
channel, chafed its angry way to the brink, where, bending a massive
curve, as if hesitating to risk the leap, it plunged into a narrow
cavern sixty feet deep, with a force and volume which made the earth
tremble. The noise was prodigious, deafening, and echoed in awful
tumult among the barren mountains. Further towards the other shore,
smaller jets were rushing from the imprisoned rocks which clustered
near the brow of the cliff, into other caverns; {163} and close under
the north bank, and farther down the stream, thundered another, nearly
equal in grandeur to the one first described.

On the portions of the rocky stratum left by the chafing waters, in
wearing out numerous channels below the present situation of the
Shutes, were the flag huts of one hundred Wallawalla fishermen. They
were taking salmon with scoop nets and bone pointed spears. These
people are filthy and naked. Some sat by fires swallowing roasted
salmon; others greasing themselves with the oil of that fish; others
were dressing and drying them; others stood down on the projections
in the chasms, sweeping their nets in the foaming waters; untaught,
un-elevated, least intelligent, least improvable human nature! It was
not deemed safe to remain long among these savages, who had begun to
examine my packs with more interest than strictly honest intentions
towards them seemed to require, and I took to the trail again on a fast

Some of them endeavoured to follow on foot, demanding a tribute of
"smoke" for the privilege of passing their dominions. But having none
at hand I pushed on, without regarding their suit, over sand hills,
{164} beds of volcanic stones, and hanging declivities, till rounding
a basaltic buttress, I came in view of the little plain on the south
western shore of the Dalles. The "Dalles," a French term for "flat
stones," is applied to a portion of the river here, where, by a process
similar to that going on at Niagara, the waters have cut channels
through an immense stratum of black rock, over which they used to fall
as at the Shutes.[227]

At low stages these are of sufficient capacity to pass all the waters.
But the annual floods overflow the "flat stones," and produce a lashing
and leaping, and whirling of waters, too grand for the imagination to
conceive. These "Dalles" are covered with the huts of the Chinooks, a
small band of a tribe of the same name, which inhabits the banks of
Columbia from this place to its mouth.[228] They flatten their heads
and perforate the septum of the nose, as do the Wallawallas, Skyuse and
Nez Percés.

The depression of the southern embankment of the chasm of the river at
the Dalles, extends eight miles along the stream, and from a half mile
to a mile in width. It is broken by ledges bursting through the {165}
surface, and in parts loaded with immense boulders of detached rocks.
Along the north-western border are groves of small white oaks; and on
the highlands in that direction are forests of pine, spruce and other
evergreens, clothing the whole country westward to the snowy peaks of
the President's Range.

In the south-west, specked with clusters of bunch grass, is an open
rolling plain, which stretches beyond the reach of vision. In the north
rise sharp mountains, thinly clad with evergreen trees; through an
opening among the peaks of which, appeared the shining apex of Mount
Adams.[229] In the north-east sweep away in brown barrenness, naked
cliffs and sandy wastes. I had taken a bird's-eye view of the Dalles
and the region round about, when my Indian cried out "Lee house." And
there it was, a mission house of the American P. E. Methodist Church,
in charge of Messrs. Lee and Perkins.[230]

I spent a week at the Dalles' mission, eating salmon and growing fat;
an event that had not lately occurred in the republic of the members of
my mortal confederacy.

The buildings of the mission, are a dwelling-house, {166} a house for
worship and for school purposes, and a workshop, &c. The first is a log
structure thirty by twenty feet, one and a half floor high, shingle
roofs, and floors made of plank cut with a whip-saw from the pines
of the hills. The lower story is divided into two rooms--the one a
dining-room, the other the family apartment of Mr. Perkins and lady.
These are lined overhead and at the sides with beautiful rush mats
manufactured by the Indians. The upper story is partitioned into six
dormitories, and a school-room for Indian children; all neatly lined
with mats. Underneath is an excellent cellar. The building designed for
a house of worship, was being built when I arrived. Its architecture is
a curiosity.

The frame is made in the usual form, save that instead of four main
posts at the corners, and others at considerable distances, for the
support of lateral girders, there were eleven on each side, and six
on each end, beside the corner posts--all equal in size and length.
Between these billets of wood were driven transversely, on which
as lathing, mortar made of clay, sand and straw, were laid to a
level with their exterior and interior faces. There is so little
falling {167} weather here, that this mode of building was considered
sufficiently substantial.

Messrs. Lee and Perkins were formerly connected with the mission on
the Willamette. Eighteen months before I had the happiness of enjoying
their hospitality, they came to this spot with axes on their shoulders,
felled trees, ploughed, fenced, and planted twenty acres of land with
their own hands, and erected these habitations of civilization and
Christianity on the bosom of the howling wilderness. Their premises are
situated on elevated ground, about a mile south-west from the river.
Immediately back is a grove of small white oaks and yellow pines; a
little north, is a sweet spring bursting from a ledge of rocks which
supplies water for house use, and moistens about an acre of rich soil.
About a mile to the south, are two or three hundred acres of fine land,
with groves of oaks around, and an abundant supply of excellent water.
Here it was the intention of the mission to open a farm under the care
of a layman from the States.

A mile and a half to the north, is a tract of about two hundred acres,
susceptible of being plentifully irrigated by a number of large streams
that pour down upon it from {168} the western mountains. Here, too,
they intended to locate laymen to open farms, and extract from the idle
earth the means of feeding themselves, the Indians, and the wayworn
white man from the burnt solitudes of the mountains. No location, not
even the sacred precincts of St. Bernard, on the snows of the Alps,
could be better chosen for the operations of a holy benevolence.

The Indians from many quarters flock to the Dalles and the Shutes in
the spring, and autumn, and winter to purchase salmon; the commercial
movements between the States and the Pacific will pass their door; and
there in after-days, the sturdy emigrants from the States will stop,
(as did the pilgrims on Plymouth rock,) to give grateful praise to Him
who stood forth in their aid, not indeed while struggling on the foamy
billow, but on the burning plain and the icy cliff, and in the deadly
turmoil of Indian battles on the way, and will seek food and rest for
their emaciated frames, before entering the woody glen and flowing
everglades of Lower Oregon.

A saw-mill, a grist-mill, and other machinery necessary to carry out a
liberal plan of operations, are in contemplation. The {169} fruit of
the oak, it is supposed, will support 1,000 hogs from the middle of
August to the middle of April; the products of the arable soil will
suffice to make that number into marketable pork; and as the grass
and other vegetation grow there during the winter months, twenty-five
or thirty square miles of pasturage round about, will enable them to
raise, at a trifling expense, immense numbers of sheep, horses and
cattle. Five acres of ground cultivated in 1839, produced twenty-five
bushels of the small grains, seventy-five bushels of potatoes, and
considerable quantities of other vegetables. This was an experiment
only on soil not irrigated. Gentlemen suppose it capable of producing
double that amount, if irrigated. The season, too, was unusually dry.

Around about the mission are clusters of friable sand-stone rocks of
remarkable form. Their height varies from ten to thirty feet; their
basilar diameters from three to ten feet: their shape generally
resembles that of the obelisk. These (fifteen or twenty in number)
standing among the oaks and pines, often in clusters, and sometimes
solitary, give a strange interest of antiquity to the spot. And this
illusion is increased by a {170} rock of another form, an immense
boulder resting upon a short, slender pedestal, and strikingly
resembling the Egyptian sphynx. The Indian tradition in regard to them
is, that they were formerly men, who, for some sin against the Great
Spirit, were changed to stone.

At the Dalles is the upper village of the Chinooks. At the Shutes,
five miles above, is the lower village of the Wallawallas. One of the
missionaries, Mr. Lee, learns the Chinook language, and the other, Mr.
Perkins, the Wallawalla; and their custom is to repair on Sabbath days
each to his own people, and teach them the Christian religion. The
Chinooks flatten their heads more, and are more stupid than any other
tribe on the Columbia. There was one among the Dalles' band, who, it
was said, resisted so obstinately the kind efforts of his parents to
crush his skull into the aristocratic shape, that they abandoned him
to the care of nature in this regard; and much to the scandal of his
family, his head grew in the natural form. I saw him every day while
I staid there. He was evidently the most intelligent one of the band.
His name is Boston; so called, because the form of his head resembles
that of Americans, {171} whom the Indians call "Boston," in order to
distinguish them from "King George's men,"--the Hudson Bay Company
gentlemen. Boston, although of mean origin, has, on account of his
superior energy and intelligence, become the war chief of the Dalles.

On the morning of the 14th, I overhauled my baggage, preparatory to
descending the river. In doing so, I was much vexed to find that the
Indians had, in some manner, drawn my saddle to the window of the
workshop in which it was deposited, and stripped it of stirrups,
stirrup-straps, surcingle, girths, and crupper. They had also stolen my

The loss of these articles, in a region where they could not be
purchased--articles so necessary to me in carrying out my designs
of travelling over the lower country, roused in me the bitterest
determination to regain them at all hazards. Without reflecting for a
moment upon the disparity of numbers between my single self and forty
or fifty able-bodied Indians, I armed myself completely, and marched
my solitary battalion to the camp of the principal chief, and entered
it. He was away. I explained to some persons there by signs {172} and a
few words, the object of my search, and marched my army to an elevated
position and halted.

I had been stationed but a short time, when the Indians began to
collect in their chief's lodge, and whisper earnestly. Ten minutes
passed thus, and Indians were constantly arriving and entering. I was
supported in the rear by a lusty oak, and so far as I remember, was
ready to exclaim with the renowned antagonist of Roderick Dhu,

                       "Come one, come all;" &c.

but never having been a hero before or since, I am not quite certain
that I thought any such thing. My wrath, however, was extreme. To
be robbed for the first time by Indians, and that by such cowardly
wretches as these Chinooks were; and robbed too of my means of
exploring Oregon, when on the very threshold of the most charming part
of it, was an inconvenience and an ignominy worth a battle to remove.

Just at the moment of this lofty conclusion, thirty-eight or forty
Indians rushed around me; eight or ten loaded muskets were levelled at
my chest, within ten feet of me, and the old chief stood within five
feet, with {173} a duelling pistol loaded, cocked, and pointed at my
heart. While this movement was being made, I brought my rifle to bear
upon the old chief's vital organs. Thus both armies stood for the space
of five minutes, without the movement of tongue or muscle. Then one of
the braves intimated that it was "not good" for me to be out with arms;
and that I must immediately accommodate myself within doors. But to
this proposition the bravery of my army would not submit. I accordingly
informed him to that effect; whereupon the opposing army went into a
furious rage.

At this juncture of affairs, Mr. Lee came up, and acted as interpreter.
He inquired into the difficulty, and was told that the "whole Chinook
tribe was threatened with invasion, and all the horrors of a general
war, on what account they knew not." The commander of my army reported
that they had robbed him, and deserved such treatment; and that he had
taken arms to annihilate the tribe, unless they had restored to him
what they had stolen.

I was then told that "it was not good for me to appear in arms--that it
was good for me to go into the house." To this, my army with one voice
replied, "Nay, never, {174} never leave the ground, or the Chinooks
alive, tribe or chief, if the stolen property be not restored;" and
wheeling my battalion, drove first one flank and then the other of the
opposing hosts, fifty yards into the depths of the forests.

During this movement, worthy of the best days of Spartan valour, the
old chief stood amazed to see his followers, with guns loaded and
cocked, fly before such inferior numbers. After effecting the complete
rout of the opposing infantry, the army under my command took up the
old position without the loss of a single man. But the old chief was
still there, as dogged and sullen as Indian ever was. On approaching
him, he presented his pistol again near my chest, whereupon my rifle
was instantly in a position to reach his; and thus the renowned leaders
of these mighty hosts stood for the space of an hour without bloodshed.

Perhaps such another chief was never seen; such unblenching
coolness--excepting always the heat which was thrown off in a healthful
and profuse perspiration--and such perfect undauntedness, except an
unpleasant knocking of the knees together, produced probably by the
anticipated blasts of December. But while these exhibitions {175} of
valour were being enacted, one stirrup was thrown at my feet, and
then the other, and then the straps, the crupper, &c., until all the
most valuable articles lost, were piled before me. The conquest was
complete, and will doubtless shed immortal lustre upon the gallant
band, who, in the heart of the wilderness, dared to assert and
maintain, against the encroachments of a numerous and well-disciplined
foe, the "élite" of the Chinook army, the rights and high prerogative
of brave freemen and soldiers. The number of killed and wounded of
the enemy had not been ascertained, when the troops under my command
departed for the lower country.

In the evening which succeeded this day of carnage, the old chief
assembled his surviving followers, and made war speeches until
midnight. His wrath was immeasurable. On the following morning, the
Indians in the employ of the mission left their work.

About ten o'clock, one of the tribe appeared with a pack-horse, to
convey Mr. Lee's and my own packs to the water-side. The old chief
also appeared, and bade him desist. He stood armed before the house
an hour, making many threats against the {176} Bostons, individually
and collectively; but finally retired. As soon as he had entered his
lodge, the horse of his disobedient subject was loaded, and rushed to
the river. An effort was made to get oarsmen for our canoe, but the
old hero of a legion of devils told them, "the high Bostons would kill
them all, and that they must not go with him." Mr. Lee, however, did
not despair.

We followed the baggage towards the river. When within a quarter of a
mile of it, two Americans, members of Richardson's party, Mr. Lee and
an Indian or two, whom the old chief had not succeeded in frightening
took the canoe from the bushes, and bore it to the river on their

The natives were stationed beyond rifle-shot upon the rocks on either
side of the way, bows and arrows, and guns in hand. Indian Boston was
in command. He stood on the loftiest rock, grinding his teeth, and
growling like a bloodhound, "Bostons ugh;" and springing upon his bow,
drove his arrows into the ground with demoniac madness. I stopped, and
drew my rifle to my face, whereupon there was a grand retreat behind
the rocks. My army marched slowly and majestically on, as became the
dignity {177} of veteran victors. The women and children fled from
the wigwams by the way; and the fear of the annihilation of the whole
tribe only abated when my wrath was, to their understanding, appeased
by the interference of Mr. Lee. Thus the tribe was saved from my
vengeance--the whole number, fifty or sixty stout savages, were saved!
an instance of clemency, a parallel to which will scarcely be found in
the history of past ages.

Being convinced, at last, that my intentions towards them had become
more pacific, six oarsmen, a bowsman, and steersman, were readily
engaged by Mr. Lee, and he shoved off from that memorable battle-ground
on a voyage to the Willamette. These Indians have been notorious
thieves ever since they have been known to the whites. Their meanness
has been equally well known. Destitute of every manly and moral virtue,
they and their fathers have hung around the Dalles, eaten salmon, and
rotted in idleness and vice; active only in mischief, and honest only
in their crouching cowardice towards those they suppose able to punish
their villany.[231]

There is some very curious philosophy among them: as for example,
they believe {178} human existence to be indestructible by the laws
of nature; and never diseased, unless made so by the Medicine men or
conjurers, who are believed to enter into the system in an unseen
manner, and pull at the vitals. They also hold that one Medicine man
can cast out another. Accordingly, when one of them is called to a
patient and does not succeed in restoring him to health, he is believed
to be accessory to his death, and is punished as such by the relatives
of the deceased.

Their mode of treating patients is to thrust them into a sweat oven,
and thence, reeking with perspiration, into the cold streams. After
this, they are stretched out at length on the ground, wrapped very
warmly, and kneaded, and rolled, and rubbed, with great severity.
The abdomen is violently pressed down to the spine, and the forehead
pressed with the might of the operator; the arms and limbs, pinched
and rubbed, rolled and bruised. Meanwhile, the conjuror is uttering
most beastly noises. As might be supposed, patients labouring under the
febrile diseases, are soon destroyed.

In order, however, to keep up their influence among the people, the
conjurors of {179} a tribe, male and female, have cabalistic dances.
After the darkness of night sets in, they gather together in a wigwam,
build a large fire in the centre, spread the floor with elk skins, set
up on end a wide cedar board, and suspend near it a stick of wood in a
horizontal position. An individual seizes the end of the stick, swings
the other end against the cedar board, and thus beats noisy time to
a still more noisy chant. The dance is commenced sometimes by a man
alone, and often by a man and woman. And various and strange are the
bodily contortions of the performers. They jump up and down, and swing
their arms with more and more violence, as the noise of the singing and
thumping accompaniment increases, and yelp, and froth at the mouth,
till the musician winds up with the word "_ugh_"--a long, strong,
gutteral grunt; or until some one of the dancers falls apparently dead.

When the latter is the case, one of the number walks around the
prostrate individual, and calls his or her name loudly at each ear, at
the nose, fingers, and toes. After this ceremony, the supposed dead
shudders greatly, and comes to life. And thus they continue to sing,
and thump, and {180} dance, and die, and come to life through the
night. They are said to be very expert at sleight of hand.

The Chinooks, like all other Indians, believe in existence after death;
but their views of the conditions of that existence, I could not learn.
The conjurors teach them, that they themselves shall be able to visit
their tribe after the body shall have decayed; and when approaching the
end of their days, inform the people in what shape they will manifest
themselves. Some choose a horse, others a deer, others an elk, &c., and
when they die, the image of their transmigrated state is erected over
their remains.[232]

The reader is desired to consider Mr. Lee and myself gliding,
arrow-like, down the deep clear Columbia, at two o'clock in the
afternoon of the 15th, and to interest himself in the bold mountain
embankments clothed with the deep, living green of lofty pine and
fir forests, while I revert to the kind hospitalities of the Dalles'
mission. Yet how entirely impossible is it to relate all that one
enjoys in every muscle of the body, every nerve and sense, and every
affection of the spirit when he flies from the hardships and loneliness
of deserts to the {181} comforts of a bed, a chair, and a table, and
the holy sympathy of hearts moulded and controlled by the higher
sentiments. I had taken leave of Mr. and Mrs. Perkins with the feelings
that one experiences in civilized lands, when leaving long-tried and
congenial friends.

The good man urged me to return and explore with him, during the rainy
season in the lower country, some extensive and beautiful prairies,
which the Indians say lie sixty or seventy miles in the north, on the
east side of the President's range; and Mrs. Perkins kindly proposed to
welcome my return for that object with a splendid suit of buckskin, to
be used in my journeyings.

But I must leave my friends to introduce the reader to the "Island
of the Tombs."[233] Mr. Lee pointed to it, as the tops of the cedar
board houses of the dead peered over the hillocks of sand and rock
among which they stood. We moored our canoe on the western side, and
climbed up a precipice of black shining rocks two hundred feet; and
winding among drifts of sand the distance of one hundred yards came to
the tombs. They consisted of boxes ten or twelve feet square on the
ground, eight or ten high, made of cedar {182} boards fastened to a
rough frame, in an upright position at the sides, and horizontally over
the top. On them, and about them, were the cooking utensils, and other
personal property of the deceased. Within were the dead bodies, wrapped
in many thicknesses of deer and elk skins, tightly lashed with leather
thongs, and laid in a pile with their heads to the east. Underneath the
undecayed bodies were many bones from which the flesh and wrappings had
fallen: in some instances a number of waggon loads. Three or four of
the tombs had gone to ruins, and the skulls and other bones lay strewn
on the ground. The skulls were all flattened. I picked up one with the
intention of bringing it to the States. But as Mr. Lee assured me that
the high veneration of the living for the dead would make the attempt
very dangerous, I reluctantly returned it to its resting place.[234]

We glided merrily down the river till sunset, and landed on the
northern shore to sup. The river had varied from one to one and a half
miles in width, with rather a sluggish current; water clear, cool, and
very deep. Various kinds of duck, divers, &c., were upon its beautiful
surface. The {183} hair seal was abundant.[235] The mountains rose
abruptly on either side from five hundred to two thousand feet, in
sweeping heights, clad with evergreen trees. Some few small oaks grew
in the nooks by the water side. Among these were Indian wigwams,
constructed of boards split from the red cedar on the mountains. I
entered some of them. They were filthy in the extreme. In one of them
was a sick man. A withered old female was kneading and pinching the
devil out of him. He was labouring under a bilious fever. But as a
"Medicine man" was pulling at his gall, it was necessary to expel him;
and the old hag pressed his head, bruised his abdomen, &c., with the
fury and groaning of a bedlamite.

Not an acre of arable land appeared along the shores. The Indians
subsist on fish and acorns of the white oak. The former they eat fresh
during the summer; but their winter stores they dry and preserve in the
following manner:--The spine of the fish being taken out, and the flesh
being slashed into checks with a knife, so as to expose as much surface
as possible, is laid on the rocks to dry. After becoming thoroughly
{184} hard, it is bruised to powder, mixed with the oil of the leaf fat
of the fish, and packed away in flag sacks. Although no salt is used
in this preparation, it remains good till May of the following year.
The acorns, as soon as they fall from the trees, are buried in sand
constantly saturated with water, where they remain till spring. By this
soaking their bitter flavour is said to be destroyed.

After supper, Mr. Lee ordered a launch, and the Indian paddles were
again dipping in the bright waters. The stars were out on the clear
night, twinkling as of old, when the lofty peaks around were heaved
from the depths of the volcano. They now looked down on a less grand,
indeed, but more lovely scene. The fires of the natives blazed among
the woody glens, the light canoe skimmed the water near the shore,
the winds groaned over the mountain tops, the cascades sang from cliff
to cliff, the loon shouted and dove beneath the shining wave; it was
a wild, almost unearthly scene, in the deep gorge of the Columbia.
The rising of the moon changed its features. The profoundest silence
reigned, save the dash of paddles that echoed faintly from the shores;
our canoe sprang lightly over {185} the rippling waters, the Indian
fires smouldered among the waving pines; the stars became dim, and the
depths of the blue sky glowed one vast nebula of mellow light. But the
eastern mountains hid awhile the orb from sight.

The south-western heights shone with its pale beams, and cast into the
deeply sunken river a bewitching dancing of light and shade, unequalled
by the pencil of the wildest imagination. The grandeur, too, of grove,
and cliff, and mountain, and the mighty Columbia wrapped in the drapery
of a golden midnight! It was the new and rapidly opening panorama of
the sublime wilderness. The scene changed again when the moon was high
in heaven.

The cocks crew in the Indian villages; the birds twittered on the
boughs; the wild fowl screamed, as her light gilded the chasm of the
river, and revealed the high rock Islands with their rugged crags and
mouldering tombs. The winds from Mount Adams were loaded with frosts,
and the poetry of the night was fast waning into an ague, when Mr. Lee
ordered the steersman to moor. A crackling pine fire was soon blazing,
and having warmed our shivering {186} frames, we spread our blankets,
and slept sweetly till the dawn.

Early on the morning of the 16th, our Indians were pulling at the
paddles. The sky was overcast, and a dash of rain occasionally fell,
the first I had witnessed since leaving Boyou Salade.[236] And
although the air was chilly, and the heavens gloomy, yet when the large
clear drops pattered on my hat, and fell in glad confusion around our
little bark, a thrill of pleasure shot through my heart. Dangers,
wastes, thirst, starvation, eternal dearth on the earth, and dewless
heavens, were matters only of painful recollection. The present was the
reality of the past engrafted on the hopes of the future; the showery
skies, the lofty green mountains, the tumbling cataracts, the mighty
forests, the sweet savour of teeming groves, among the like of which I
had breathed in infancy, hung over the threshold of the lower Columbia,
the goal of my wayfaring.

Hearken to that roar of waters! see the hastening of the flood! hear
the sharp rippling by yonder rock; the whole river sinks from view in
advance of us. The bowsman dips his paddle deeply and quickly; the
frail canoe shoots to the {187} northern shore between a string of
islands and the main land; glides quickly down a narrow channel; passes
a village of cedar board wigwams on a beautiful little plain to the
right; it rounds the lower island; behold the Cascades!--an immense
trough of boulders of rocks, down which rushes the "Great River of the
West." The baggage is ashore; the Indians are conveying the canoe over
the portage, and while this is being done, the reader will have time to
explore the lower falls of the Columbia, and their vicinage.[237]

The trail of the Portage runs near the torrent, along the rocky slope
on its northern bank, and terminates among large loose rocks, blanched
by the floods of ages, at the foot of the trough of the main rapid. It
is about a mile and a half long. At its lower end voyagers reembark
when the river is at a low stage, and run the lower rapids. But when
it is swollen by the annual freshets, they bear their boats a mile and
a half farther down, where the water is deep and less tumultuous. In
walking down this path, I had a near view of the whole length of the
main rapids. As I have intimated, the bed of the river here is a vast
inclined trough of white rocks, sixty {188} or eighty feet deep, about
four hundred yards wide at the top, and diminishing to about half that
width at the bottom. The length of this trough is about a mile. In that
distance the water falls about one hundred and thirty feet; in the
rapids, above and below it, about twenty feet, making the whole descent
about one hundred and fifty feet. The quantity of water which passes
here is incalculable. But an approximate idea of it may be obtained
from the fact that while the velocity is so great, that the eye with
difficulty follows objects floating on the surface, yet such is its
volume at the lowest stage of the river, that it rises and bends like a
sea of molten glass over a channel of immense rocks, without breaking
its surface, except near the shores, so deep and vast is the mighty

In the June freshets, when the melted snows from the western
declivities of seven hundred miles of the Rocky Mountains, and those
on the eastern sides of the President's Range, come down, the Cascades
must present a spectacle of sublimity equalled only by Niagara.
This is the passage of the river through the President's Range,
and the mountains near it on either {189} side are worthy of their
distinguished name. At a short distance from the southern shore they
rise in long ridgy slopes, covered with pines, and other terebinthine
trees of extraordinary size,[238] over the tops of which rise bold
black crags, which, elevating themselves in great grandeur one beyond
another, twenty or thirty miles to the southward, cluster around the
icy base of Mount Washington. On the other side of the Cascades is a
similar scene. Immense and gloomy forests, tangled with fallen timber
and impenetrable underbrush, cover mountains, which in the States,
would excite the profoundest admiration for their majesty and beauty,
but which dwindle into insignificance as they are viewed in presence of
the shining glaciers, and massive grandeur of Mount Adams, hanging over

The river above the Cascades runs north-westwardly; but approaching
the descent, it turns westward, and, after entering the trough,
south-westwardly, and having passed this, it resumes its course to the
north west. By this bend, it leaves between its shore and the northern
mountains, a somewhat broken plain, a mile in width, and about four
miles in length. At the upper end of the rapids, this plain is {190}
nearly on a level with the river, so that an inconsiderable freshet
sets the water up a natural channel half way across the bend. This
circumstance, and the absence of any serious obstruction in the form
of hills, &c., led me to suppose that a canal might be cut around the
Cascades at a trifling expence, which would not only open steamboat
navigation to the Dalles, but furnish at this interesting spot, an
incalculable amount of water power.[239]

The canoe had been deposited among the rocks at the lower end of the
trough, our cocoa and boiled salmon, bread, butter, potatoes, &c., had
been located in their proper depositories, and we were taking a parting
gaze at the rushing flood, when the sound of footsteps, and an order
given in French to deposit a bale of goods at the water side, drew our
attention to a hearty old gentleman of fifty or fifty-five, whom Mr.
Lee immediately recognized as Dr. McLaughlin.[240] He was about five
feet eleven inches in height, and stoutly built, weighing about two
hundred pounds, with large green blueish eyes, a ruddy complexion,
and hair of snowy whiteness. He was on his return from London with
dispatches from the Hudson's Bay Company's Board in {191} England, and
with letters from friends at home to the hundreds of Britons in its
employ in the north-western wilderness. He was in high spirits. Every
crag in sight was familiar to him, had witnessed the energy and zeal of
thirty years' successful enterprise; had seen him in the strength of
ripened manhood, and now beheld his undiminished energies crowned with
the frosted locks of age. We spent ten minutes with the doctor, and
received a kind invitation to the hospitalities of his post; gave our
canoe, freighted with our baggage, in charge of the Indians, to take
down the lower rapids, and ascended the bluff to the trail which leads
to the tide-water below them. We climbed two hundred feet among small
spruce, pine, fir, and hemlock trees, to the table land.

The track was strewn with fragments of petrified trees, from three
inches to two feet in diameter, and rocks, (quartz and granite, _ex
loco_), mingled with others more or less fused. Soon after striking
the path on the plain, we came to a beautiful little lake, lying near
the brink of the hill. It was clear and deep; and around its western,
northern, and eastern shores, drooped the boughs of a thick hedge of
small evergreen {192} trees, which dipped and rose charmingly in its
waters. All around stood the lofty pines, sighing and groaning in
the wind. Nothing could be seen, but the little lake and the girding
forest; a gem of perfect beauty, reflecting the deep shades of the
unbroken wilderness. A little stream creeping away from it down the
bluff, babbled back the roar of the Cascades.[241]

The trail led us among deep ravines, clad with heavy frosts, the soil
of which was a coarse gravel, thinly covered with a vegetable mould.
A mile from the lake, we came upon a plain level again. In this place
was a collection of Indian tombs, similar to those upon the "Island
of tombs." These were six or eight in number, and contained a great
quantity of bones. On the boards around the sides were painted the
figures of death, horses, dogs, &c. The great destroyer bears the same
grim aspect to the savage mind that he does to ours.--A skull and the
fleshless bones of a skeleton piled around, were his symbol upon these
rude resting places of the departed.[242] One of them, which our Indian
said, contained the remains of a celebrated "Medicine man," bore the
figure of a horse rudely carved {193} from the red cedar tree. This was
the form in which his _posthumous_ visits were to be made to his tribe.
Small brass kettles, wooden pails, and baskets of curious workmanship,
were piled on the roof.

Thence onward half a mile over a stony soil, sometimes open, and again
covered with forests, we reached our canoe by the rocky shore at the
foot of the rapids. Mr. Lee here pointed out to me a strong eddying
current on the southern shore, in which Mr. Cyrus Shepard and Mrs.
Doctor White and child, of the Methodist Mission on the Willamette,
were capsized the year before, in an attempt to run the lower
rapids.[243] Mr. Shepard could not swim--had sunk the second time, and
rose by the side of the upturned canoe, when he seized the hand of Mrs.
White, who was on the opposite side, and thus sustained himself and
her, until some Indians came to their relief. On reaching the shore,
and turning up the canoe, the child was found entangled among the
cross-bars, dead!

The current was strong where we re-entered our canoe, and bore us
along at a brisk rate.--The weather, too, was very agreeable; the
sky transparent, and glowing with a mild October sun. The scenery
{194} about us was truly grand. A few detached wisps of mist clung to
the dark crags of the mountains on the southern shore, and numerous
cascades shot out from the peaks, and tumbling from one shelf to
another, at length plunged hundreds of feet among confused heaps of
rocks in the vale. The crags themselves were extremely picturesque;
they beetled out so boldly, a thousand feet above the forests on the
sides of the mountain, and appeared to hang so easily and gracefully
on the air. Some of them were basaltic. One appeared very remarkable.
The mountain on which it stood was about one thousand two hundred feet
high. On its side there was a deep rocky ravine. In this, about three
hundred feet from the plain, arose a column of thirty or forty feet in
diameter, and, I judged more than two hundred feet high, surmounted by
a cap resembling the pediment of an ancient church.

Far up its sides grew a number of shrub cedars, which had taken root
in the crevices, and, as they grew, sunk down horizontally, forming
an irregular fringe of green around it. A short distance further down
was seen a beautiful cascade. The stream appeared to rise near the
very apex of the {195} mountain, and having run a number of rods in
a dark gorge between two peaks, it suddenly shot from the brink of a
cliff into the copse of evergreen trees at the base of the mountain.
The height of the perpendicular fall appeared to be about six hundred
feet. Some of the water was dispersed in spray before reaching the
ground; but a large quantity of it fell on the plain, and sent among
the heights a noisy and thrilling echo.[244] On the north side of the
river, the mountains were less precipitous, and covered with a dense
forest of pines, cedars, firs, &c.

The bottom lands of the river were alternately prairies and woodlands;
the former clad with a heavy growth of the wild grasses, dry and
brown--the latter, with pine, fir, cotton-wood, black ash, and various
kinds of shrubs. The river varied in width from one to two miles,
generally deep and still, but occasionally crossed by sand-bars. Ten
or twelve miles below the cascades we came upon one, that, stretching
two or three miles down the river, turned the current to the southern
shore. The wind blew freshly, and the waves ran high in that quarter;
so it was deemed expedient to lighten the canoe. To this {196} end Mr.
Lee, the two Americans and myself, landed on the northern shore for a
walk, while the Indians should paddle around to the lower point of the
bar. We travelled along the beach. It was generally hard and gravelly.

Among the pebbles, I noticed several splendid specimens of the agate.
The soil of the flats was a vegetable mould, eighteen inches or two
feet in depth, resting on a stratum of sand and gravel, and evidently
overflown by the annual floods of June. The flats varied from a few
rods to a mile in width. While enjoying this walk, the two Americans
started up a deer, followed it into the woods, and, loth to return
unsuccessful, pursued it till long after our canoe was moored below the
bar. So that Mr. Lee and myself had abundant time to amuse ourselves
with all manner of homely wishes towards our persevering companions
till near sunset, when the three barges of Dr. McLaughlin, under their
Indian blanket sails and sapling masts, swept gallantly by us, and
added the last dreg to our vexation. Mr. Lee was calm, I was furious.
What, for a paltry deer, lose a view of the Columbia hence to the Fort!
But I remember with satisfaction that no one was materially {197}
injured by my wrath, and that my truant countrymen were sufficiently
gratified with their success to enable them to bear with much
resignation, three emphatic scowls, as they made their appearance at
the canoe.

The dusk of night was now creeping into the valleys, and we had twenty
miles to make. The tide from the Pacific was setting up, and the wind
had left us; but our Indians suggested that the force of their paddles,
stimulated by a small present of "shmoke" (tobacco,) would still carry
us in by eleven o'clock. We therefore gave our promises to pay the
required quantum of the herb, ensconced ourselves in blankets, and
dozed to the wild music of the paddles, till a shower of hail aroused
us. It was about ten o'clock. An angry cloud hung over us, and the
rain and hail fell fast; the wind from Mounts Washington and Jefferson
chilled every fibre of our systems; the wooded hills, on both sides
of the river were wrapped in cold brown clouds; the owl and wolf were
answering each other on the heights; enough of light lay on the stream
to show dimly the islands that divided its waters, and the fires of the
wigwams disclosed the naked groups of savages around them.

{198} It was a scene that the imagination loves. The canoe, thirty
feet in length, (such another had cut those waters centuries before);
the Indians, kneeling two and two, and rising on their paddles;
their devoted missionary surveying them and the villages on the
shores, and rejoicing in the anticipation, that soon the songs of
the redeemed savage would break from the dark vales of Oregon; that
those wastes of mind would soon teem with a harvest of happiness and
truth, cast a breathing unutterable charm over the deep hues of that
green wilderness, dimly seen on that stormy night, which will give me
pleasure to dwell upon while I live. "On the bar!" cried Mr. Lee; and
while our Indians leaped into the water, and dragged the canoe to the
channel, he pointed to the dim light of the Hudson Bay Company's saw
and grist mill two miles above on the northern shore.

We were three miles from Vancouver. The Indians knew the bar, and were
delighted to find themselves so near the termination of their toil.
They soon found the channel, and leaping aboard plied their paddles
with renewed energy. And if any one faltered, the steersman rebuked
him with his own hopes of "shmoke" and "scheotecut," (the Fort) which
never failed {199} to bring the delinquent to duty. Twenty minutes of
vigorous rowing moored us at the landing. A few hundred yards below,
floated a ship and a sloop, scarcely seen through the fog. On the shore
rose a levee or breastwork, along which the dusky savages were gliding
with stealthy and silent tread; in the distance were heard voices in
English speaking of home. We landed, ascended the levee, entered a
lane between cultivated fields, walked a quarter of a mile, where,
under a long line of pickets, we entered Fort Vancouver--the goal of my
wanderings, the destination of my weary footsteps![245]

Mr. James Douglass, the gentleman who had been in charge of the post
during the absence of Dr. McLaughlin, conducted us to a room warmed by
a well-fed stove; insisted that I should change my wet garments for dry
ones, and proffered every other act that the kindest hospitality could
suggest to relieve me of the discomforts resulting from four months'
journeying in the wilderness.[246]


    [223] For a brief sketch of Pambrun see our volume xxi, p. 280, note
74. In her letters Mrs. Whitman speaks repeatedly of kindness received
from this Hudson's Bay Company factor, whose death she deplores. See
Oregon Pioneer Association _Transactions_, 1891, pp. 88, 103, 139,

    [224] The general trend of the river is west; just above John Day's
River, in Gilliam County, there is a bend to the north-west, which is
the point Farnham had reached.--ED.

    [225] Farnham evidently thought that he saw Mount St. Helens (see our
volume vi, p. 246, note 50), which he here calls Mount Washington,
although later giving it the title of Mount Adams (see our volume
xxix, note 32--Farnham). Lewis and Clark made a similar mistake--see
_Original Journals_, iii, p. 135. What our traveller saw was the
present Mount Adams, for which see note 225, below.--ED.

    [226] All early travellers speak of the attempts of the Indians, in
their designation of the neighborhood, to express the sound of the
falling waters. Lewis and Clark speak of it as "tumm;" according to
Ross (our volume vii, p. 133), it was "Lowhum." The Shutes (Des Chutes)
is another name for the Great Falls of the Columbia.--ED.

    [227] The ordinary meaning of the word "dalles" is paving stones; but
by the Canadian French it was also used to indicate a channel which
carried off the waters dammed above--hence any form of confined,
swiftly-flowing waters. Lewis and Clark spoke of these chasms through
which the Columbia rushes as the Long and Short Narrows; by Farnham's
time the term "Dalles" had become the ordinary appellation.--ED.

    [228] For the Chinook see Franchère's _Narrative_ in our volume vi, p.
240, note 40.--ED.

    [229] Mount Adams (9570 feet) is one of the volcanic peaks of the
Cascade Range in Klickitat County, Washington, about thirty miles east
of Mount St. Helens. Both these volcanoes were in a state of eruption
in 1842-43.--ED.

    [230] For Daniel Lee see Townsend's _Narrative_ in our volume xxi, p.
138, note 13. H. K. W. Perkins came out to re-inforce the Methodist
mission in September, 1837, and not long afterwards married Elvira
Johnson, who had preceded him a few months. They joined with Daniel
Lee in establing the Dalles mission in 1838, where they labored with
varying success until about 1845, then returning to the "states."
Mrs. Whitman spent the winter of 1842-43 at this mission, during her
husband's absence. The mission house was located on the south bank of
the river, just below the Long Narrows, near an Indian village called
Kaclasco; the station was named Wascopum. See p. 388, note 208, in De
Smet's _Letters_, our volume xxvii.--ED.

    [231] Farnham has not exaggerated the bad reputation of the Indians
at the Dalles. Lewis and Clark felt that they owed their lives at
this point to the strength of their party, and came nearer to having
a skirmish with the natives of that locality than elsewhere on the
Columbia waters. See also Ross's _Oregon Settlers_ in our volume
vii, pp. 126-131, and Franchère's _Narrative_, in our volume vi, pp.

    [232] Daniel G. Brinton, _Myths of the New World_ (Philadelphia, 1896),
p. 298, considers that belief in transmigration is but little known
among North American Indians. What traces may be found are due to
totemic influence, and probably relate to reversion to the primitive
spirit represented by the clan animal, rather than to transmigration
into living animals. This statement of Farnham's would appear to have
been suggested by totem poles near the graves.--ED.

    [233] The well-known Sepulchre Island, known in the native tongue
as "Memaloose" (the abode of the dead). Many of the islands in the
Columbia were used for burial; this in particular; about three miles
below the mouth of Klickitat River, was noted by Lewis and Clark,
who found erected thereupon thirteen large box-tombs--see _Original
Journals_, iii, p. 170; iv, p. 283. In 1884 this island became the
place of sepulchre for an Oregon pioneer, Vic Trevitt, whose monument
has become a prominent landmark.--ED.

    [234] The Indians held in great reverence the tombs and the bones
therein contained, and were quick to take vengeance for any spoliation.
The flattened skulls always were an object of curiosity to whites, and
many were surreptitiously carried away by the latter. See Townsend's
experience in our volume xxi, pp. 338, 339.--ED.

    [235] Either one of the _Phocidæ_, or the _Zalophus californianus_,
well known on the Pacific coast; both of these are hair seals.--ED.

    [236] For this region, now known as South Park, see _ante_, p. 199,
note 123.--ED.

    [237] The Cascades, with their portage path, were to all early
travellers the best-known features of the lower Columbia. See Lewis and
Clark, _Original Journals_, iii, pp. 179-185; Ross's _Oregon Settlers_
in our volume vii, pp. 121-125; and Townsend's _Narrative_ in our
volume xxi, pp. 291-293.--ED.

    [238] For the varieties of pine and other terebinthine (turpentine
producing) trees of the North-west Coast, see _Original Journals
of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_, iv, pp. 41-57, 84, 85, with
identifications by Charles V. Piper, a naturalist familiar with the

    [239] This project of a canal was undertaken by the United States
government in 1878, when it was found that the difficulties were
so great that the work had no counterpart. However, after numerous
modifications, a canal was built on the south (Oregon) side of the
river, with a great steel lock at the upper Cascades. The work was
opened for navigation in November, 1896, but was not wholly completed
until 1900. Over four million dollars has been spent on this important
improvement. See the chief engineer's _Report in House Docs._, 56
Cong., 1 sess., viii, pp. 584-586.--ED.

    [240] For Dr. John McLoughlin, see our volume xxi, p. 296,
note 81.--ED.

    [241] Probably the one now known as Trout Lake. Lewis and Clark speak
of the "ponds" encountered in passing over the portage path.--ED.

    [242] The description of this place tallies well with that given by
Lewis and Clark; see _Original Journals_, iii, pp. 178, 179.--ED.

    [243] Cyrus Shepard, who came out (1834) with the first missionary
party (see our volume xxi, p. 138, note 13), was a valuable member of
the Methodist mission, where he had chief charge of the Indian manual
training school. In 1837 his fiancée, Susan Downing, came from the
states, and they were married in July of that year. His death occurred
at the mission in 1840.

Mrs. Elijah White came to Oregon with her husband, a missionary
physician, in May, 1837.--ED.

    [244] Of the many beautiful falls on this part of the river the
Horsetail, Multnomah, Bridal Veil, and Latourell are notable; probably
the Bridal Veil is the most beautiful, but the Multnomah may be the
cascade here noted.--ED.

    [245] For a brief sketch of Fort Vancouver see our volume xxi, p. 297,
note 82. Farnham gives a detailed description in our volume xxix.--ED.

    [246] Sir James Douglas was born (1803) in British Guiana. Taken
to Scotland when a child, he left in order to enter the Canadian
fur-trade, and met Dr. John McLoughlin at Fort William, on Lake
Superior. McLoughlin persuaded the youth to accompany him to the
Pacific, where (1824) he was in service at Fort St. James under Factor
Connelly, whose daughter Douglas married. For some years he was in
charge of Fort St. James, being summoned (1828) to Vancouver, where he
became second in command. Promoted to be chief trader (1830) and chief
factor two years later, he was much employed in visits of inspection
and in building new posts. In 1841-42 he went on a diplomatic and
trading embassy to California. In 1843 Fort Victoria was built under
his direction. Upon Dr. McLoughlin's resignation (1845), Douglas became
his successor as head of the Hudson's Bay Company's interests on the
Pacific, removing from Fort Vancouver to Victoria in 1849. There he
continued to rule until his resignation from the Company (1859), when
the British government appointed him governor of the newly-erected
province of British Columbia, an office which he held until 1864, being
in the preceding year knighted for his services. After release from
official duties, Sir James visited Europe, returning to his home in
Victoria, where he died August 2, 1877.--ED.

    Transcriber's Notes:

    Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors were
    silently corrected.

    Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

    Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.

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